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A 



JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS; 



OR, A 



SADDLE-TRIP ON THE SOUTHAVESTERN FRONTIER: 



STATISTICAL APPENDIX. 



BY 
FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED, 



I 



AUTHOR OF " A JOURNEY IN THE SEABOARD SLAVE STATES," 
"WALKS AND TALKS OF AN AMERICAN FARMER IN ENGLAND," ETC., ETC. 



NEW YOEK: 

DIX, EDWARDS & CO., 321 BROADWAY. 

LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, SON & CO. 

EDINBUKG: THOS. CONSTABLE & CO. 

1857. 



Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1857, by 

F. L. OLMSTED, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 



Miller &, Holman, 
Printers and Stereotypers, N. Y. 



3?2 
13041 



PREFACE. 



This work is designed further to promote the mutual acquaint- 
ance of the North and South. The great extent and capacities 
of Texas, as well as its distinct position and history, have in- 
duced the author to devote to it a separate volume. 

It has not been thought necessary to load the narrative with 
extended remarks and deductions upon the economical experi- 
ence of the young State, but while the facts presented are suf- 
fered to speak for themselves, some of the more obvious 
conclusions to which their examination leads have been thrown 
into the form of a letter, for the reader's consideration. 

Owing to the pressure of other occupations, the preparation 
of the volume from the author's journal has been committed, 
with free scope of expression and personality, to his brother, 
Dr. J. H. Olmsted, his companion upon the trip. 



iio^ 



Note by the Editor. 

The editor's motive for this journey was the hope of invigorating 
weakened lungs by the elastic power of a winter's saddle and tent- 
life. His present duty has been simply that of connecting, by a 
slender thread of reminiscence, the copious notes of facts placed in 
his hands, and in doing this he has drawn frankly upon memory for 
his own sensations. The lapse of two years may have breathed a 
little dullness on the pictures thus recalled, but it has served, also, to 
cool and harden any glow in the statements. 

A sort of alter-egotism in the book was unavoidable, and some 
details that may seem rather trivial and spiritless have been preserved, 
because a traveler's own impressions depend so much on those uncon- 
sidered but characteristic trifles. The notes upon slavery in the 
volume are incidental, but the extraordinary effect upon federal 
policy produced by fluctuation in the local market, where ownership 
in forced labor is the principal investment, imparts to observations 
within these new limits a peculiar interest. 

In an appendix will be found condensed tables of such statistics as 
are most useful for reference. « 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 



New York, December 29^, 1856. 

My Dear Friend : — I regret that I cannot respond to the con- 
gratulatory, nor yet entirely to the conciliatory, expressions of 
your recent letter. 

The character and reputation of the nation, and with it the 
character, the social claims, and the principles, of every individual 
citizen, have been seriously compromised in the eyes of the 
civilized world, by recent transactions growing out of the unset- 
tled state of our policy with regard to slavery-extension. The re- 
cent Presidential election decided nothing with respect to this, as 
you seem to suppose, because the vital question which really divides 
the country was not presented in its integrity by the party which 
triumphed. No person, therefore, claiming for himself a respect- 
able and responsible position in society, can, with decency, it 
seems to me, when brought near the field of discussion, affect to 
be indifferent, or avoid a respectful expression of his own judg- 
ment upon the grave issues in debate. For instance, the exten- 
sion of slavery into Texas, commenced, for good or evil, in our 
own day ; and when we of the North had the power and the con- 
stitutional right to prevent it. Our interest in its results cannot 
of course be deemed impertinent by its most jealous partisan. 
Offering to the public a volume of recent observations in Texas, 
I do not, therefore, see how I can, as you seem to suggest I should, 
avoid all discussion of slavery. 



Vlll A LETTER TO A SOUTHE'RN FRIEND. 

At the same time, I do not desire to engage in it, as I hardly need 
assure you, in a spirit at all inconsistent with a desirable friendship. 
Eather, in explaining the significance which, in my own mind, 
attaches to my narrative of facts, relative to the question upon 
which we have the misfortune to be divided in judgment, I shall 
hope to lessen, instead of aggravating, the causes of our difference. 

Many of the comforts demanded by people in a moderate state 
of civilization are necessarily purchased at a greater cost, in a 
newly-settled region, than in the midst of a long-established 
community. We cannot expect to find a grist-mill, much less a 
baker's shop, still less a printing-office or a bookseller's shop, in 
an actual wilderness. The cost of good bread, therefore, or of 
intellectual sustenance, will be greater than where the constant 
demand to be expected from a numerous population has induced 
labor (or capital, which represents labor) to establish such con- 
veniences. 

For the same reason, the usual means of civilized education, 
both for young and for mature minds, will be procured with diffi- 
culty in the early days of any country. Consequently, though 
we may perceive some compensations, certain fallings-short from 
the standard of comfort and of character in older communities 
are inevitable. 

The prosperity of a young country or state is to be measured 
by the rapidity with which these deficiencies are supplied, and 
the completeness with which the opportunity for profitable labor 
is retained. 

An illustration will best enable me to explain how slavery pro- 
longs, in a young community, the evils which properly belong 
only to a frontier. Let us suppose two recent immigrants, one 
in Texas, the other in the young free State of Iowa, to have 
both, at the same time, a considerable sum of money — say iive 
thousand dollars — at disposal. Land has been previously pur- 
chased, a hasty dwelling of logs constructed, and ample crops for 
sustenance harvested. Each has found communication with 
his market interrupted during a portion of the year by floods ; 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. IX 

each needs an ampler and better house ; each desires to engage a 
larger part of his land in profitable production; each needs some 
agricultural machinery or implements ; in the neighborhood of 
each, a church, a school, a grist-mill, and a branch railroad are 
proposed. 

Each may be supposed to have previously obtained the neces- 
sary materials for his desired constructions : and to need imme- 
diately the services of a carpenter. The Texan, unable to hire one 
in the neighborhood, orders his agent in Houston or New Orleans 
to buy him one : when he arrives, he has cost not less than two 
of the five thousand dollars. The Iowan, in the same predica- 
ment, writes to a friend in the East or advertises in the 
newspapers, that he is ready to pay better wages than carpenters 
can get in the older settlements ; and a young man, whose only 
capital is in his hands and his wits, glad to come where there 
is a glut of food and a dearth of labor, soon presents himself. 
To construct a causeway and a bridge, and to clear, fence, 
and break up the land he desires to bring into cultivation, 
the Texan will need three more slaves — and he gets them as 
before, thereby investing all his money. The Iowan has only 
to let his demand be known, or, at most, to advance a small 
sum to the public conveyances, and all the laborers he requires 
— independent, small capitalists of labor — gladly bring their 
only commodity to him and offer it as a loan, on his promise 
to pay a better interest, or wages, for it than Eastern capitalists 
are willing to do. 

The Iowan next sends for the implements and machinery 
which will enable him to make the best use of the labor he has 
engaged. The Texan tries to get on another year without them, 
or employs such rude substitutes as his stupid, uninstructed, 
and uninterested slaves can readily make in his ill-furnished 
plantation work-shop. The Iowan is able to contribute liber- 
ally to aid in the construction of the church, the school-house, 
the mill, and the railroad His laborers, appreciating the value 
of the reputation they may acquire for honesty, good judgment, 



X A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

skill and industry, do not need constant superintendence, and 
he is able to call on his neighbors and advise, encourage 
and stimulate them. Thus the church, the school, and the rail- 
road are soon in operation, and with them is brought rapidly 
into play other social machinery, which makes much luxury 
common and cheap to all. 

The Texan, if solicited to assist in similar enterprises, answers 
truly, that cotton is yet too low to permit him to invest money 
where it does not promise to be immediately and directly pro- 
ductive. 

The Iowan may still have one or two thousand dollars, to be 
lent to merchants, mechanics, or manufacturers, who are disposed 
to establish themselves near him. With the aid of this capital, 
not only various minor conveniences are brought into the neigh- 
borhood, but useful information, scientific, agricultural, and 
political ; and commodities, the use of which is educative of 
taste and the finer capacities of our nature, are attractively pre- 
sented to the people. 

The Texan mainly does without these things. He confines 
the imports of his plantation almost entirely to slaves, corn, ba- 
con, salt, sugar, molasses, tobacco, clothing, medicine, hoes and 
plow-iron. Even if he had the same capital to spare, he would live 
in far less comfort than the Iowan, because of the want of local 
shops and efficient systems of public conveyance which cheapen 
the essentials of comfort for the latter. 

You will, perhaps, say that I neglect to pay the Iowan labor- 
ers their wages. It is unnecessary that I should do so : those 
wages remain as capital to be used again for the benefit of the 
community in Iowa. Besides, the additional profit which has 
accrued to the farmer by reason of the more efficient tools and 
cattle he has acquired, the greater cheapness with which the rail- 
road will transport his crops to be sold, the smaller subtractions 
from stock and crops he will have met with from the better em- 
ployment of his neighbors, and the influence of the church and 
school upon them, will go far towards paying these debts. 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XI 

The difficulty of obtaining a profitable return for labor, ap- 
plied with the disadvantages which thus result from slavery, is 
such that all but the simplest, nearest, and quickest promises of 
profit are neglected in its direction. As a general, almost univer- 
sal, rule, the Texan planter, at the beginning of any season, is in 
debt, and anxious to acquire money, or its equivalent, to meet his 
engagements. The quickest and surest method of getting it 
before the year ends, is to raise cotton — for cotton, almost alone, 
of all he can produce under these disadvantages, bears the cost 
of transportation to cash customers. He will rarely, as I have 
supposed, invest in a carpenter ; he will rarely undertake the 
improvement of a road. He will content himself with his 
pioneer's log-cabin, and wait the pleasure of nature at the 
swamp and the ford. His whole income will be reinvested in 
field-hands. 

He plants cotton largely — quite all that his laborers can cul- 
tivate properly. Generally, a certain force will cultivate more 
than it can pick, pack, and transport to public conveyance. 
Unwilling to lose the overplus, he obtains, upon credit again, 
another addition to his slave force. Thus the temptation con- 
stantly recurs, and constantly the labor is directed to the quickest 
and surest way of sustaining credit for more slaves. 

After a certain period, as his capital in slaves increases, and 
his credit remains unimpaired, the dread of failure, and the 
temptation to accumulate capital become less, and he may begin 
to demand the present satisfaction of his tastes and appetites. 
Habit, however, will have given him a low standard of comfort, 
and a high standard of payment for it ; and he will still be sa- 
tisfied to dispense with many conveniences which have long before 
been acquired by the Iowan ; and to pay a higher price for those 
he demands, than more recent, or less successful, immigrants to 
his vicinity can afford. 

Thus he will have personally grown rich, perhaps ; but few, 
if any, public advantages will have accrued from his expendi- 
tures. It is quite possible that, before he can arrive at that 



Xii A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

point of liberality in expenditure which the Iowan started with, 
the fertility of his soil will have been so greatly reduced that the 
results of labor upon it are no longer accumulative of profit, 
but simply enable him to sustain the mode of life to which he 
and his slaves are accustomed. 

This occurs, I again remind you, not merely because labor is 
applied to the end of immediately realizing a return in slaves, 
but because it continues constantly to be applied without the 
advantage of efficient machinery, and the cheapest means of 
marketing its results ; also, because the planter's mind, which, 
by a freer expenditure of capital at an early day, would have 
been informed and directed to a better method of agriculture, 
remains in ignorance of it, or locked against it by the prejudice 
of custom and habit. 

I have described to you the real condition, and its historical 
rationale, of a majority of the better class of planters in Texas, 
as, after many favorable opportunities of acquaintance with them, 
I have apprehended it. My knowledge of Iowan proprietors, of 
similar capital, is not personal, but inferential and from report. 
It may be there are none such, but it makes little difference in 
the end whether the five thousand dollars to be expended is held 
by one proprietor, or divided among a number. It is so much 
capital disengaged. 

I have made circumstantial inquiry of several persons who 
have resided both in Iowa and in Texas, and have ascertained, 
most distinctly, that the rapidity with which the discomforts of 
the frontier are overcome, the facility with which the most valua- 
ble conveniences, and the most important luxuries, moral, mental, 
and animal, of old communities, are reobtained, is astonishingly 
greater in the former than the latter. 

Comparing Texas with New York, I can speak entirely from 
personal observation. I believe it is a low estimate, that every 
dollar of the nominal capital of the substantial farmers of New 
York represents an amount of the most truly valuable com- 
modities of civilization, equal to five dollars in the nominal wealth 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. Xlll 

of Texas planters. And this, notwithstanding that the climate 
of Texas has a great superiority over that of New York or Iowa. 
I think that the labor of one man in Texas will more easily 
produce adequate sustenance and shelter for a family and an 
ordinary farm-stock of working cattle, than that of two anywhere 
in the Free States. 

And this, again, without regard to that quality of the cli- 
mate which enables the Texan to share in the general monopoly 
of the South in the production of cotton — a quality so valua- 
ble that Texans sell scarcely anything out of the State but 
cotton, which they even find it profitable to exchange for 
corn raised in Ohio, and taxed with the expense of a great 
transportation, and several exchanges. Not that corn is pro- 
duced with less labor in Ohio, but that cotton is produced 
with so much more profit in Texas. Corn, and every other 
valuable staple production of the soil of the Free States, except, 
perhaps, oats and potatoes, for which there are special substi- 
tutes, may be grown extensively, and with less expenditure 
of labor, in Texas. Nor did we — my medical companion and 
myself — have reason to retain the common opinion, after careful 
attention to the subject, that the health of white people, or their 
ability to labor, was less in the greater part of Texas than in 
the new Free States. We even saw much white and free labor 
applied to the culture of cotton with a facility and profit at least 
equal to that attending the labor of enslaved negroes, at the same 
distance from market. 

All things considered, I believe that the prosperity of Texas, 
measured by the rapidity with which the inconveniences and dis- 
comforts, inevitable only in a wilderness or an uncivilized state of 
society, are removed, would have been ten times greater than it 
is, had it been, at the date of its annexation, thrown open, under 
otherwise equally favorable circumstances, to a free immigration, 
with a prohibition to slavery. I think that its export of cotton 
would have been greater than it now is ; that its demand from, 
and contribution to, commerce would have been ten times what it 



XIV A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

now is ; that it would possess ten times the length of railroad ; 
ten times as many churches ; ten times as many schools, and a 
hundred times as many school- children as it now has. 

You may think it too soon to form a judgment of any value 
upon the prosperity of Texas, as measured by the other criterion 
I proposed — namely, " the completeness with which the opportu- 
nity for profitable labor is retained." But what do you say to 
the fact that, in the eastern counties, that spectacle so familiar 
and so melancholy in your own State, in all the older Slave States, 
is already not unfrequently seen by the traveler — an abandoned 
plantation of " worn-out" fields, with its little village of dwellings, 
now a home only for wolves and vultures ? 

This but indicates a large class of observations,* by which I 
hold myself justified in asserting that the natural elements of 
wealth in the soil of Texas will have been more exhausted in ten 
years, and with them the rewards offered by Providence to labor 
will have been more lessened than, without slavery, would have 
been the case in two hundred. Do not think that I use round 
numbers carelessly. After two hundred* years' occupation of 
similar soils by a free-laboring community, I have seen no such 
evidences of waste as, in Texas, I have after ten years of slavery. 
And indications of the same kind I have observed, not isolated, 
but general, in every Slave State but two — which I have seen 
only in parts yet scarcely at all settled. Moreover, I have seen 
similar phenomena following slavery in other countries and in 
other climates. 

It is not at all improbable, my good friend, that children of 
yours, in, perhaps, the tenth generation, will have to work, what- 
ever may be their occupation, one hour a day more, during all 
their working lives, than they would have done but for this your 
policy of extending slavery over Texas, and thereby permanently 

* Of this class, frequent notes on live stock will be found in the volume. The 
exception which Kentucky offers to all other Slave States, in this respect, is 
easily accounted for, and is clearly maintained by a great sacrifice of other 
sources of wealth, which sacrifice would be unnecessary, but for slavery. 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XV 

diminishing the rightful profits of labor. Bread is to cost them 
more by the pound, cotton and wool stuffs more by the yard. 

Will you say that no superficial observations of a passing 
stranger can shake your confidence in the great higher law of 
demand and supply? That slavery cannot be forced by any legis- 
lation to exist for an injurious period in any country or region 
where free labor would, on the whole, be more economical ? That 
free labor, on the other hand, cannot be restrained? That the 
climate of Texas demands African laborers, and that Africans are 
incapable of persistent labor, unless they are controlled, directed, 
and forced by a superior will 1 There are a few facts men- 
tioned in these pages which bear on both these points, and to 
which I will simply beg you to give a fair consideration. Espe- 
cially, I would be glad to have you ponder the experience of the 
German colonists, of which, though the narration is influenced, 
perhaps, by an irresistible enthusiasm of admiration, the details 
have been carefully obtained and verified. 

As to the needlessness of legal restrictions upon slavery where 
its introduction would be uneconomical, let me ask, do you 
consider publiclotteries of money economical institutions ? They 
exist in every civilized community wherein they are not prohibited 
by law. Gambling-houses, and places of traffic in stolen goods, 
you will hardly deem economical conveniences in any climate ; 
yet laws are everywhere required to restrict their increase. 

I consider that slavery is no less disastrous in its effects on 
industry — no less destructive to wealth. The laws and forces 
sustaining it, where it has been long established, may have be- 
come a temporary necessity, as poisons are to the life of some 
unfortunate invalids. Judge you of that. But laws intended to 
extend its field of improvidence are unjust, cruel, and oppressive. 
Kevolutionary resistance to them by all men whose interest it is 
to have industry honestly paid, can only be wrong while likely to 
be unsuccessful. 

There are two reasons, both of which, you have confessed to 
me, operate on your own mind, why, the power to hold slaves 



XVI A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

being secured, men employ them in preference to the much 
cheaper free labor, and why the vitality of slavery need be no- 
where dependent on its mere economy as a labor system. 

First : Slavery educates, or draws out, and strengthens, by ex- 
ample and exercise, to an inordinate degree, the natural lust of 
authority, common as an element of character in all mankind. To 
a degree, that is, which makes its satisfaction inconvenient and 
costly — costly of other means of comfort, not only to the indivi- 
dual, but to the community. 

Thus, a man educated under the system will be disposed no 
longer than he is forced, by law or otherwise, to employ servants 
or laborers who may make demands upon him, and if those 
demands are refused, may in their turn legally refuse to obey 
him. He will prefer to accept much smaller profits, much 
greater inconveniences, than would a man otherwise educated, 
rather than submit to what he considers to be the insolence of a 
laborer, who maintains a greater self-respect, and demands a 
greater consideration for his personal dignity, than it is possible 
for a slave to do.* 

Secondly: The power of exercising authority in this way 
is naturally overmuch coveted among you. It gives position 
and status in your society more than other wealth — (wealth 
being equivalent to power). It is fashionable with you to own 
slaves, as it is with the English to own land, with the Arabs, 



* The apologetic style in which the Southern newspapers generally com- 
mented upon the homicide, by a member of Congress, educated in Alabama, 
of a servant in a hotel at Washington, last spring, affords a sad indication of the 
strength of this educational prejudice. In some cases no apology, but a distinct 
approval, of such a method of vindicating Southern habits of unmitigated 
authority was expressed. The Charleston Standard observed: " If white 
men accept the office of menials, it should be expected that they will do-so with 
an apprehension of their relation to society, and the disposition quietly to en- 
counter both the responsibilities and liabilities which the relation implies." 
The Alabama Mail, exl ending the scope of its demand to free soil, remarked : 
" It is getting time that waiters at the North were convinced that they are serv- 
ants and not gentlemen in disguise. vVe hope this Herbert affair will teach 
them prudence." 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XV11 

horses ; and as beads and vermilion have a value among the 
Indians which seems to us absurd, so, among you, has the power 
of commanding the service of slaves. Consequently you are 
willing to pay a price for it which, to one not educated as you 
have been, seems absurdly high. Nor are you more likely 
to dispense with slaves, when you have it in your power to pos- 
sess them, than the Chinese with their fashion of the queue, 
Turks with their turban, or Englishmen with their hats. 

We need no restrictions upon fashions like these, which are 
oppressive only to those who obey them. Such is not the case 
with the fashion of slavery.* 

But still you may doubt if slavery can long remain where it is 
uneconomical ; the influences I have mentioned might, you will 
reflect, induce a Southerner to continue to employ his slaves 
while he is able ; but his ability to do so would soon be ex- 
hausted if the institution were really uneconomical ; in a new 
country the opportunity of employing slaves would soon be lost, 
owing to the superior advantages those would have who em- 
ployed the cheaper labor of freemen ; in fact, capital would be 
rapidly exhausted in the effort to sustain the luxury of com- 
manding slaves. 

Such, precisely, is the case. How, then, does it continue ? 
Do not be offended if I answer, by constantly borrowing and 
never paying its debts. 

Look at any part of the United States where slavery has pre- 
dominated for a historic period ; compare its present aspect with 
that it bore when peopled only by " heathen salvages," and you 



* It might be supposed that the distinct c< mean white" class, characteristic 
of older communities in the Slave States, could hardly yet have been devel- 
oped in a region where slavery itself has but just now been transplanted, and 
where the avenues of escape from it, and of better possibilities, are so open and 
inviting to all. But it appears that such a class is a necessary phenomenon 
attending slavery. The planter in Eastern Texas speaks with the same irritation 
of his poorer neighbors that he does elsewhere at the South, and says, " If there 
are hog-thieves anywhere, it is here." The existence of the classes, master and 
slave, implies the existence of a miserable intermediate class. 



XV1U A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

will see that the luxury of slaves, and what other luxury through 
their labor has therein been enjoyed, have been acquired at an 
immense cost beyond that of mere labor. You will see that 
what has been called the profit of slave labor has been obtained 
only by filching from the nation's capital — from that which the 
nation owes its posterity — many times the gross amount of all 
the production of that labor.* 

Governor Adams, in a recent message to the legislature of 
South Carolina, , intimates that, at ten cents a pound, English 
manufacturers are paying too little for the cotton this country 
sends them. I think twice that amount would be too little to 
recompense the country for the loss of capital at present involved 
in its production. I believe that, with free labor in Texas, unem- 
barrassed by the inconveniences attending slavery, it could have 
been profitably exported at half that price. 

You will still ask how slavery, laboring under such economical 

* A respectable Southern critic has asked, if evidences of a spendthrift system 
of industry, similar to those described in the Slave States, might not have been 
found by one disposed to look for them, in the Free, and has quoted official tes- 
timony of a reduced production per acre of one of the crops cultivated in New 
York, as refuting my evidence of the desolating effects of slavery in the Sea- 
board States. 

Waste of soil and injudicious application of labor is common in the agricul- 
ture of the North, but nowhere comparably with what is general at the South. 
Nowhere, in any broad agricultural district, does such waste appear to have 
taken place, without a present equivalent existing for it. Nowhere is the land, 
with what is attached to it, now less suitable and promising for the residence 
of a refined and civilized people, than it was before the operations, which have 
been attended with the alleged waste, were commenced. 

I am mistaken if the same is true of Eastern Virginia and Carolina, or 
any other ditftrict whore slavery has predominated for a historic period. The 
land, in these cases, is positively less capable of sustaining a dense civilized 
community, than it would be if no labor at all had ever been expended upon it. 
Had all its original elements of wealth remained intact, had it been hitherto 
entirely reserved from civilized occupation, it would have sold for more by the 
acre to-day, than it is now to be valued at with all the ameliorations and con- 
structions which labor has effected upon it. Labor, in the case of Eastern Vir- 
ginia, for two hundred years, by a community in which the controlling force 
has been the boasted Anglo-Saxon, the prevailing religion Christian and Pro- 
testant. 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XIX 

disadvantages, can take possession of any country, to the exclu- 
sion or serious inconvenience of free labor % 

Plainly, it may do so by fraud and violence — by disregard of 
the rights of citizens. I will not say that these are necessities 
of its existence, only that they are alleged to be so by those 
who have carried slavery into Texas, as well as by those who 
have sought to establish it in Kansas. These missionaries of 
the institution voluntarily make the declaration, and put it de- 
liberately on record, that lawless violence and repudiation of state 
pledges must be permitted in order to maintain slavery in these 
regions. Whether with reason or not, the purpose to maintain 
slavery is constantly offered and received as a sufficient excuse 
for disregarding not merely personal rights under the Constitu- 
tion, but the most solemn treaty-obligations with a foreign 
nation.* 

When you demand of us to permit slavery in our territory, 
we know that you mean to take advantage of our permission, to 



* Is not the general impression, that frequent deeds of lawless violence are 
a necessary and pardonable characteristic of our frontier community, based 
upon, and entirely sustained by, occurrences which are peculiar to the frontier 
of the Slave States ? Lynch law is not found a necessary preliminary to good gov- 
ernment in Iowa and Minnesota. Tarring and feathering, mob executions, bowie- 
knife fracases, deadly family feuds, etc., etc., are characteristic only of commu- 
nities, the controlling minds in which have been educated in the Slave States. 
No one looks with hope or anxiety for spontaneous popular invasions or fili- 
bustering occupations of Canada West by Minnesotans or Michiganians. 
Plundering parties of Maine backwoodsmen do not constantly menace the 
peaceful villages of Nova Scotia. We do not have periodical reports from 
Eastport, of piratical fleets preparing to invade Newfoundland. But last year, 
a large band of mounted Texan Free- Companions plundered and burned, in mere 
wantonness, a peaceful Mexican town on the Rio Grande ; four hundred United 
States troops listening to the shrieks of fleeing women, and looking on in indo- 
lence. This has passed without rebuke ; apparently with entire public and offi- 
cial indifference. It was looked upon as one of the necessary and pardonable 
occurrences of a frontier. Would this have been the case, if it had happened 
on the Northwestern frontier ? Is it not time the people of the free West were 
delivered from the vague reputation of bad temper, recklessness, and lawless- 
ness, under which they suffer, and which, without doubt, greatly deters indus- 
trious and peacefully disposed persons from immigrating among them ? 



XX A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

forbid freedom of discussion, and freedom of election ; to prevent 
an effective public educational system ; to interrupt and annoy 
our commerce, to establish an irresponsible and illegal censor- 
ship of the press; and to subject our mails to humiliating sur- 
veillance. 

And you ask — nay, you demand, and that with a threatening 
attitude — that we shall permit you to do all this ; for what pur- 
pose ? 

Not because you need an extension of your field of labor. 
Governor Adams, in the message to which I have referred, 
alleges that the poverty and weakness of the South are chiefly 
due to its deficiency of laborers. To say that it has too few 
laborers is to say that it has too much territory. And that is 
true. 

I learn from trustworthy and unprejudiced sources, that the 
gentlemen who have carried slaves to Kansas have not done so 
because they believe it to be the most promising field of labor 
for slaves open to them ; they do not hesitate to admit it to be 
otherwise. But they have gone there as a chivalric duty to 
their class and to the South — that South to which alone their 
patriotism acknowledges a duty. If they succeed in once estab- 
lishing slavery as a state institution, they have reason for think- 
ing that Kansas will be thereafter avoided, as a plague country 
would be, by free labor. For, to say to an emigrating farmer, 
"Kansas is a slave state," is to tell him that if he goes thither 
he will have to pay a dear price for everything but land ; for 
tools, for furniture, for stock ; that he may have to dispense dur- 
ing his life — as may his children after him — -with convenient 
churches, schools, mills, and all elaborate mechanical assistance 
to his labor. Thus they calculate — and this is their only motive 
— that two more senators may be soon added to the strength of 
slavery in the government. They are only wrong in forgetting 
that free laborers are no longer constrained, by a compact with 
them, to quietly permit this curse to be established in Kansas. 

Danger from insurrection is supposed by some to be propor- 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XXI 

tionate to density of population, and your demand is sometimes 
urged on the plea that an extension of the area subject to the 
waste of slavery is necessary to be made in order to avoid this 
calamity. 

If one-third of the land included in the present Slave States 
be given up to the poor whites and the buffaloes, and the remain- 
der be divided into plantations averaging a square mile in size, 
the present slave population must double in number before 
each of these plantations will be provided with a laboring force 
equal to five able-bodied men and women. 

If the policy of thus dispersing capital and labor, withholding 
so much wealth as it does from the service of commerce, and 
involving so much unnecessary expenditure, be really persist- 
ed in, from a fear of a slave rebellion, I think we have a right 
to ask you, the gentlemen who own this hazardous property, to 
provide some less expensive means of meeting the danger with 
which it threatens you. For, where will this way of meeting it 
carry us? You are unsafe now: if safety is to be obtained by 
greater dispersion, how great must it be? In another generation 
you will require the continent, and the tide of white immigration 
will be returning to the old world. There is a great significance 
in the emigration driven, even now, from the Slave States, con- 
trary to the normal inclination of immigration, which is always 
southward and outward, into the colder Free States, which already 
have more than twice their density of population.* 



* The Census tables show that the Slave States hare sent nearly six times as 
many of their population into the Free Territories as the Free States have sent 
into Slave Territories. Kentucky, alone, has sent into Free Territory GO, 000 more 
than all (he Free States bave sent into Slave Territory. Virginia, alone, has 
sent 60,000 more into the Free Territory than all the Free States have sent jnto 
Slave Territory. North Carolina .and Tennessee have sent several thousands 
more into the Free Territories than all the Free States have sent into Slave Ter- 
ritory. Maryland, with a total white population of 418,030, has sent more than 
half as many persons into the Free Territories as all the Free States together, 
with a total white population of 13,300,000, have sent into the Slave Territories — 
See Putnam's Monthly, December, 185(3, p. C52. 



XX11 A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

But this is not the reason given by the most ardent and 
talented extensionists. Your favorite statistician, Mr. DeBow, 
agrees with the South Carolina professor, Drew, who, he says, 
has fully shown how " utterly vain" are the fears of those who 
apprehend danger from a great increase in the number of 
slaves.* So say many others, especially when arguing the 
military strength of the Slave States. 

The only argument steadily and boldly urged in the South 
itself, is that slavery must be extended in order to preserve the 
equality of the South in the republic. It would be folly, your 
editors and orators constantly assure us, to think that the South 
will remain in association with the North, unless she can retain 
such an equality. 

There can be no dishonor for 1,100,000 citizens (the number 
voting in the Slave States at the recent election) to have less 
power of control in the government of a republic than 2,900,000 
(the number of Northern voting citizens). The alleged folly of 
permitting the greater number of citizens to obtain a power of 
controlling the federal government is founded solely in the rumor, 
that it is the purpose of those who oppose the extension of slavery 
to force an abolition of slavery where it exists under the sanction 
of the sovereign state governments. 

I trust you are not one of those who credit this rumor. My 
acquaintance with the people of the North is extensive and 
varied. I know, so far as it is within the ability of a man to be 
informed of the purposes of other men, that this rumor is still, 
as Daniel Webster declared it to be twenty-five years ago, a 
wicked device of unprincipled politicians.f I lose respect for 



* Resources of the South, etc., vol. ii., p. 233. 

f In 1830, Daniel Webster said, in the Senate : 

" I know full well that it is, and has been, the settled policy of some persons 
in the South, for years, to represent the people of the North as disposed to in- 
terfere with them in their own exclusive and peculiar concerns. This is a deli 
cate and sensitive point in Southern feeling ; and of late years, it has always 
been touched, and generally with effect, whenever the object has been to unite 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XX1U 

gentlemen whom I find to have been imposed upon by it. There 
are men, who, it is constantly asserted, are notoriously leaders 
among those having this purpose, whom I have happened to meet 
often, under circumstances favorable to a free expression of their 
political views and intentions. I have heard from them never 
the slightest suggestion of a desire to interfere by force, or any 
action of the central government, with the constitutional rights 
of the state governments to maintain slavery. 

Since the attempt to extend slavery in Kansas,, by the repeal 
of our old compromise with you, I have heard one man express 
the conviction, to which others may be approaching, that we 
shall never have done with this constantly recurring agitation, 
till we place ourselves in an offensive position towards the South, 
threatening the root of the national nuisance. This man, how- 
ever, was not one of those who are considered the special t enemies 
of the South, nor a politician by profession, but an honest, direct- 
minded old farmer, who has heretofore been numbered among 
those the South chooses to deem its friends ; a man, too, who, as 
it happens, has seen the South, knows its condition, and main- 
tains friendly communication with slaveholders. 

This indicates, in my opinion, the only way in which the peo- 
ple of the North can be tempted to use the control they already 
actually possess, and by their numbers are justly entitled to, in 
the confederate government, in the unconstitutional and revolu- 
tionary manner these lying political speculators are so ready to 
anticipate. 

The chief object of this false accusation, is to excite the igno- 
rant masses of your own citizens to act, with blindly-zealous con- 
cert, in favor of measures to which, if honestly presented, they 
would be equally opposed with the intelligent people of the 



the whole South against Northern men or Northern measures. This feeling, 
always carefully kept alive, and maintained at too intense a heat to admit dis- 
crimination or reflection, is a lever of great power in our political machine. It 
moves vast bodies, and gives to them one and the same direction. But it is 
without adequate cause; and the suspicion which exists is wholly groundless." 



XXIV A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

North. Its danger is now -made sufficiently obviously the con- 
spiracies, among the slaves, which, since the election, have been 
discovered in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkan- 
sas, and Texas — perhaps elsewhere. 

These are the first general and formidable insurrectionary 
movements since 1820, when, as your rumor is, the machina- 
tions of the abolitionists commenced. Many general and for- 
midable insurrections are matters of history previous to 1820. 
The improbability that the abolitionists have been engaged in 
stimulating insurrections, between 1820 and the present time, is 
apparent. When you consider that, in all the districts wherein 
these conspiracies are now discovered, there have been large and 
excited public meetings, harangued by loud-voiced speakers, 
whose principal topic was the imminent danger of an interference 
by Freaaont, and the people of the North, in behalf of the slaves 
against their masters — Fremont's name being already familiar in 
their ears as that of a brave and noble man — remembering 
this — how can you doubt whether the abolitionists, or your own 
recklessly ambitious politicians, are most responsible for your 
present danger? 

The late message of President Pierce to Congress has been 
distributed in the government publication and the newspapers by 
hundreds of thousands in the Slave States, and has fallen directly 
into the hands of half your house-servants, or may have been 
given to any slave who purchases a plug of tobacco at a gro- 
cery. This message, or almost any of the speeches made by 
Southern members in the debate upon it, which have, in like 
manner, been freely scattered, will give the confident impression 
to any man, not otherwise better informed, who reads it, or 
hears it read or talked of, that a formidable proportion of the 
white people of the North are determined " to effect a change in 
the relative condition of the white and the black race in the 
Slaveholding States;" that they are prepared to accomplish 
this " through burning cities, and ravaged fields, and slaughtered 
populations, and all that is terrible in foreign, complicated with 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XXV 

civil and servile war, devastation, and fratricidal carnage."'* If he 
have any disposition to obtain his liberty, it will at once be sug- 
gested to him that he and his fellows should be prepared to take 
advantage of the suggestions thus made — the encouragement to 
fight their way northward, thus published to them by a thought- 
less Northern ally of their masters. Is it the abolitionists or the 
politicians you have most reason to fear % 

Be assured, all attempts to extend slavery can only increase 
the very danger which it is pretended they are made to avert. 

In denying that a formidable number of the citizens of the Free 
States are disposed to interfere between the slaves and the citi- 
zens in other States, I do not wish you to understand me to say 
that there is not a large number of abolitionists among us : using 
the word, as has lately become the custom, to mean those who 
have formed a distinct judgment, that slavery is an evil, 
the continuance of which it is proper, desirable, and possible 
for you to more or less distinctly limit ; who also think it 
proper to express this opinion ; who also think it their duty to 
prevent those who hold the opinion that slavery is wholly a good 
thing, desirable for indefinite perpetuation and extension, from 
exercising the influence they endeavor to do, in our common 
government, for the purpose 1 of extending and perpetuating it. 
I suppose about one-half of all the people of the Free States 
are now distinctly and intelligently abolitionists, of this kind, and 
nine-tenths of the remaining number are as yet simply too little 
interested in the subject to have formed a judgment, by which, 
they can be reliably classed. Out of a few localities, where 
a commercial sympathy with planters is very direct, there is 
no society in which an avowal of positive anti-abolition opinion 
would not be considered eccentric. 

Even of those voting at the late election for Mr. Buchanan, 
among my acquaintance, more than half have expressed opinions 
to me which would at once range them as abolitionists, and ex- 

# Message of the President, December, 1856. 



XXVI A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

pose them to disagreeable treatment if uttered in Southern 
society. These voted as they did, not so much, I think, from 
fear that a division of the Uniofi would result from Mr. Fre- 
mont's election, as because, being influential men in their party, 
and having been successful in obtaining the nomination of the 
candidate they deemed least dangerous of those advanced for the 
nomination, they felt bound in honor to sustain him. 

Which way the progress of opinion tends, it is easy to see, 
and you need not trust my judgment. Examine the vote of 
the North in connection with statistics indicating the degree 
of intelligence and the means of transmitting and encouraging 
intelligence among — not the commercial or wealthy class, but — 
the general working people, and you will find Mr. Fremont's 
vote bears a remarkable correspondence to the advantage of any 
district or state in this particular. Now. our means of improv- 
ing education, of transmitting intelligence, and of stimulating 
reflection are very steadily increasing. The young men, attaining 
their majority in the next four years, will have enjoyed advan- 
tages, in these respects, superior to their predecessors. The effect 
of railroads, and cheaper postage — significantly resisted by those 
who are most violent partisans of the extension of slavery — and of 
cheaper books and newspapers, is, as to this question, almost 
all one way. It is our young men who are most sensitive to 
the insulting tone which the South thinks it proper to assume in 
all debates with those members of congress who are known to 
best represent the North. It is among those whose interest in 
public affairs is of recent date, that the old party terms of out- 
cry are least expressive of evil. 

It is not long since you yourself held in the highest respect 
and profoundest confidence as true citizens, such men as Chief 
Justice Parker and Judge Kent; Presidents Walker, Woolsey 
and King; James Hamilton, James S. Wadsworth, and John M. 
Eead ; Washington Irving, Longfellow and Bryant, and even 
Mr. Fremont — all now strongly sympathizing and openly coop- 
erating with the party of the " abolitionists." There are many 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XXV11 

thousand young men who must still hold these honored names in 
as high respect as ever you did, who have lately acquired their 
first distinct political associations. Consider that, with these, 
the terms Abolitionist and Disunion ist, Black Republican and 
Nigger-worshiper, must thus be hereafter irrevocably attached to 
names and characters once as familiar to the South as the North, 
and ever commanding, everywhere, the completest popular con- 
fidence, as the first gentlemen, the purest patriots, and the sound- 
est thinkers in the land. Reflect, that at least nine out of ten of 
the clergy of every denomination, and of the lay-teachers, in the 
North, have been enrolled as " abolitionists," and probably a 
majority have thought it proper to publicly profess the faith now 
so denominated, and which the South has chosen to make the 
subject of the most violent, reckless, and relentless denunciation 
and persecution. 

Do you think we shall go backward 1 Consider, that in those 
States which gave the only Northern majorities to Mr. Buchanan, 
an efficient public-school system has been a creation entirely of 
the last fifteen years : that in Southern Illinois and Indiana, 
where the vote against Mr. Fremont was heavier than elsewhere, 
the majority of living voters were born and lived in their early 
life, subject only to such educational advantages as existed — and 
exist — in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee. That the proportion of citizens who were educated 
in those States themselves, since schools became conveniently 
frequent, and newspapers and books a common luxury, will now 
very rapidly increase. 

Very many other considerations might be adduced, if you do 
not believe that the policy of forcing an extension of slavery 
is necessary to the honor of the people of the South, and a duty 
to be performed without flinching, whatever sad consequences it 
may involve, why you should join me in pleading for its imme- 
diate and decisive abandonment. 

I have said that already full one-half of the citizens of the 
North are decisively abolitionists in their convictions. You have 



XXV111 A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. 

led thein to consider the moral question involved in maintaining 
slavery where it is, by forcing them to think of the material profit 
or otherwise which will result to themselves and their children 
from carrying it where it is not, and their verdict is against you.* 
I believe that, rather than be parties to its extension, rather than 
shift the responsibility of a decision upon those who are so unin- 
telligent or uninformed as to be willing to settle in a territory 
where its prohibition is yet undecided — unless they are patriotic 
enough to go for the purpose of deciding it — they will accept any- 
thing else that you may place in the alternative. Be it disunion, 
be it war, foreign or domestic, it will not divert them from their 
purpose. 

Any further extension or annexation of slavery, under whatever 

* While the interest of the South in occupying a larger area of soil, is one 
that neither justice, generosity, friendship, nor self-interest would lead us to 
regard, the interest of the nation, as a nation, in my judgment, is strongly op- 
posed to anything which unnecessarily deters the voluntary determination of 
independent laborers towards any unoccupied land. In fact, I believe that it 
is of far more consequence to apply the doctrine of free trade to labor than to 
anything else. 

I have long been of the opinion that the proportion of capital nominally em- 
ployed in agriculture in the Eastern Free States, though better there than in 
the Slave States, was far too great, as a matter of national economy. 

Though I esteem the advantages of a tolerably complete social organization 
rather more than is usual, I consider that land has an exorbitantly high value, 
relatively to the reward of labor expended upon it, in New England, New York, 
New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. I could state interesting facts in the social 
condition of the agricultural, compared with other classes, to support this view. 
I suppose that in Kansas, and I am sure that in Western Texas, if slavery did 
not interfere, a laboring man with a small capital in stock and tools, would gain 
wealth as fast as he could in New England, if he were obliged to pay a rent one 
hundred per cent, higher on the value at which his land would be generally ap- 



If this is so, the interest of the merchant and the manufacturer equally 
with that of the laborer, enlists them to oppose the extension of slavery. 
Who can doubt for a moment that it does so, comparing the value to commerce 
of the demand of Virginia with Pennsylvania ; of Kentucky with Ohio ; of Mis- 
souri with Illinois, and of Texas with Iowa and Minnesota. Every laborer, who 
is given the opportunity to work in Iowa, may be depended upon to soon call 
upon Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, Lowell, Trenton, and Pittsburgh, 
for ten times as much as any slave who is carried to Texas. 



A LETTER TO A SOUTHERN FRIEND. XXIX 

pretense or covering it is attempted, will only be effected in con- 
temptuous defiance of the people of the Free States. 

I am, and I trust long to remain, 
Your fellow-citizen, and friend, 

Fred. Law Olmsted. 



INDEX 



CHAPTER I. 

ROUTE TO TEXAS. 

Southern Phenomena, 1; Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 2; Cumberland, 3 
Over the Blue Ridge; Wheeling, 4; The Ohio, 5; The Ohio Vineyards, 6 
Cincinnati, 7 ; Pork, 9 ; To Lexington ; The Woodland Pastures of Kentucky 
10; Pork on Foot, 11 ; " Cash Clay," from the Kentucky Point of View, 12 
Kentucky Farming, 14 ; Corn-bread Begins, 15 ; Lexington, 16 ; Ashland, 17 
Lexington as a Residence, 18; Slaves in Factories; Toward Louisville, 19 
Self-defense, "20 ; Black Conversation ; Fugitive Slave Law, 21 ; Louisville 
Down the Ohio, 22 ; Steamboat Time, 23; The River Banks, 24; Smithland, 
mouth of the Cumberland, 25; The " D. A. Tomkins," 27; Crutches and 
Shoals, 29 ; Life and Scenery on the Cumberland, 30 ; Iron Works ; Negro 
Wages, 32; Live Freight, 34; Nashville, 35; Return to the Ohio; The 
" Sultana," 37 ; The Mississippi, 38. 

CHAPTER II. 
ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 

Routes into Texas, 43 ; Red River, 44 ; Our Mount, 45 ; A Red River Planta- 
tion, 46; The Road before us, 53: Piney Wood Travel; Emigrant Trains, 
55 ; A Yellow Gentleman ; Road Talk, 57 ; Land Locating; Cotton Hauling, 
59 ; The Entertainment for Man and Beast, 60 ; Worn out Land ; The People, 
62 ; Spanish Remains; The Progress of Dilapidation, 63; Our Old Frontier; 
The First House in Texas, 64; Slave Life, 66; The Red-land District, 67; 
San Augustine; A Texan Fete, 68; Manners, 69; Packing the Mule, 70; 
Additions to the Company, 72; Our Experience with Arms, 73; Off Again, 
75 ; The Country, 76 ; Piety in Negroes ; " Done gone," 77 ; Nacogdoches, 78 ; 
Supplies, 80; The Angelina; Camp Diet, 81; The Neches ; Worn-out 
Plantations, 82 ; A Sunday in Cam}) ; Alimentary Substances, 83 ; Sunday 



INDEX. XXXI 

Habits, 84 ; Black Temperance, 85 • A Roasted Broad-axe, 86 ; A Windfall, 
87 ; A Family Servant ; Sunday Travel ; Post-office Department, 88 ; The 
First Prairie, 89 ; Trinity River Navigation, 90 ; Trinity Bottom-lands ; Sale 
of Lands and Hands, 91 ; Leon County, 92 ; The Centreville Hotel, 93 ; Across 
the Brazos ; Saddle and Tent Life, 95; Venison ; The Prairies, 97 ; The First 
Norther, 99 ; A Grazier's Farm, 100 ; A Harbor in an Inn, 102 ; Texan Con- 
versation, 103 ; About Niggers, 104 ; Manners and the Weather ; Sheep and 
Prices, 107; The Colorado, 109; Austin, 110; Hotels, 111 ; Legislature, 113; 
The Materials of Living, 114; An Eastern Planter, 115; Literature, 117; 
Foreign Relations, 118 ; Black Housekeeping, 119; Abolition Ridiculous, 
120; Texan Women; A Northern Settler, 121 ; Ease versus Comfort, 122; 
Slavery with a Will; Texas as it used to be, 123; Law and Gospel, 126; 
Church and State; The Present Social State of Texas, 127. 



CHAPTER III. 

ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 

Over the Colorado; The Prairies, 129 ; Western Landscapes; A Mule Lesson, 
130 ; A Well-ordered Plantation, 131 ; Agrarian Ideas ; Approach to Ger- 
mans, 132 ; Agricultural, 133 ; Incomplete Arrangements ; The Ground and 
Atmosphere, 134 ; Mesquit Grass, 135 ; San Marcos, 136 ; A Snug Camp, 137 ; 
Notes of Temperature during a Norther; A Neighbor of the Germans ; His 
Report of them, 138 ; German Farms, 140 ; Free-labor Cotton ; A Free-minded 
Butcher, 141 ; Neu-Braunfels, 142 ; An Evening far from Texas, 143 ; Pleas- 
ing Indications of a New Social Life, 146 ; The San Antonio Road ; The 
Cibolo, 147; Chaparral; Mesquit; San Antonio, 149; Economical Testimo- 
nial of Respect ; The Missions, 154 ; The Alamo, 155 ; The Environs ; San 
Antonio Spring, 156 ; Bathing, 157 ; Town Life ; Street Affrays, 158 ; The 
Mexicans in Texas, 160 ; Their Rights and Wrongs, 163; Their Number and 
Distribution; A Pause, 165; A Mirage and a Norther; Notes of Tempera- 
ture, 167 ; Neu-Braunfels, 169 ; History of the German Immigration, 172 ; 
Remarkable Sufferings of the Earlier Immigrants and their Effect on Cha- 
racter, 176 ; Satisfactory Progress ; Present Appearances, 177 ; Some Social 
Statistics ; The Trades and Cooperative Institutions ; Prices Current, 179 ; 
Wages — Servants, 180 ; Slaves; A Pathetic Record, 181; Free Cotton ; Free 
versus Slave Labor, 182 ; Kendall's Sheep Ranch ; A Night in a German 
Cabin, 183; Comments on American Habits, 185; The Germans in the 
Mountains, 187 ; Cordillera Scenery, 188 ; A New Settler from Bavaria, 189 ; 
Sisterdale, 191 ; A Frontier Court ; Otto Von Behr, 192; Saxony Sheep ; The 
Upper Guadalupe, 193 ; Gigantic Cypresses ; Farming in the Dale, 194 ; A 
Hydropathic Establishment, 195 ; German Refugees, 196 ; A Panther Per- 
formance, 197 ; Political Exile, 199 ; The Martyr Spirit ; Fredericksburg, 
200; The Northern German Settlements, 201; Up-country Farming; The 
Attractiveness of Western Texas to Emigrants; Profits of Agriculture, 204 ; 
Estimate of Expense and Profit of a Stock and Sheep Farm, 205 ; Estimate 



XXXU INDEX. 

of Expense and Profit of a Cotton Plantation, 206; The Comanche Spring 
Road, 2.9 ; Taking an Observation ; Fording the Guadalupe, 210 ; A Horse 
Bath, 21 L ; A Wanderer, 212 ; Vegetation on the Mountains, 213 ; Range for 
Sheep ; The Egg Snake; Venison at last; " Sharp" Practice, 214 ; A Fight 
with a Prairie Fire, 215 ; After the Battle ; Qui vive ! — A Narrow Escape, 220 ; 
Game, 223 ; " Heaps" of Bears, 224. 

CHAPTEK IV. 

A TRIP TO THE COAST. 

A Mule Spirt, 227; A Wet Norther in Camp, 228; A Black Life, 229; The 
Prettiest Town in Texas, 231 ; Camp on the San Geronimo — Satisfied Whites, 
Dissatisfied Negro, 232 ; Spring in the Prairie, 233 ; Guadalupe Lands, 234 ; 
American, German, and Mexican Settlers, 235; Wine, 236; Gonzales ; Wa- 
terless Camp, 237 ; Broader Views ; How Corn is Kept ; Cotton-hauling ; 
The Roads, 238 ; The Courtesy of the Road ; Dead Cattle, 239; Slave Emi- 
grants; Cool Prospects for a Night; Victoria, 240; Night on a Plantation ; 
Negro Servants again, 241 ; Cotton-growing Profits ; Sugar, 244; Expulsion 
of Mexicans ; The Coast Prairie; A Gale, 245 ; Prairie Navigation, 246; 
Lying-to; Mustangs, 247; Lavaca; A Reformed Abolitionist, 248; Bed- 
chamber Arrangements and Companions, 250 ; Subsidence of Mr. Brown, 251 ; 
Physic to the Fishes, 252 ; Indianola, 253; A Charivari ; Return to Upland, 
255 ; A Runaway, 256 ; A Nigger Hunt, 257 ; Hardships ; Sheep, 258 ; A Fast 
Hotel, 259 ; A Nomination ; One of the Sorts who Make a World, 260 ; Camp 
on Manahuila, 261 ; The Mission Church of La Bahia ; Goliad, 262 ; Le bon 
Cure, 262 ; Decorum under Difficulties ; Hospitality, 264 ; Mexican Rights, 
265 ; An Irish Colonist ; A Horse-jockey Silenced, 266 ; The Soil ; A Stam- 
pede, 267 ; San Antonio River District ; Mexican Plantations, 270. 

CHAPTEK V. 

A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 

Frontier Trains, 273 ; A Cattle Drove for California, 274 ; Castroville ; History 
of the Settlement, 277 ; Frontier Colonies ; A Beautiful Country, 278 -. Quihi ; 
Improving Settlers, 279 ; Early Hardships, 280 ; Organized Emigration, 281 ; 
Emigrant Aid Societies, 282 ; A Suggestion for Philanthropists, 283 ; Border 
Settlers ; Victor Considerant, 284 ; A Frontier Military Post ; The Mounted 
Rifles, 285 ; Frontier Mail Carriage, 286 ; An Indian Camp, 288 ; A Ride with 
the Noble Savage, 290 ; Indian Depredations, 294 ; Indians in Texas, 295 ; 
Their Condition and Treatment, 296 ; The Best Policy, 297; Frontier De- 
fenses, 298 ; Texas Rangers — A Sketch of their Organization and Habits, 299 ; 
*At the Seige of Monterey ; A Military Salute, 302 ; A Capital Scout ; Poetry 
of the Indian, 303; Butter-cups and Primroses; A Reconnoisance, 304; 
Beyond Settlements ; Tobacco and Spirits too Heavy, 305 ; Camp a la Belle 
Etoile, 306 ; The Cuisine ; Precautions against an Indian Attack, 307 ; 



INDEX. XXXL11 

Snakes, Insects, and Game, 308 ; Nigger Hunting in the Desert, 313 ; Fort 
Duncan Military Post, 314 ; Eagle Pass ; A Sleepy Town, 315 ; Funeral Ce- 
remonies, 318; Piedras Negras, 319; An Alcalde, 321 ; Runaway Slaves in 
Mexico, 323 ; Germans and Runaways, 327 ; Jews ; A Mail Behind Time, 
329 ; Plans of Slaveholders, 331 ; Peon Law, 334 ; Rules of the Road, 335 ; 
A California Widow, 336 ; Economy of Breath ; Bed Companions, 337 ; 
Across the Rio Grande ; A Vigilant Sentry ; The Runaway again, 338 ; Effect 
of Freedom on the Negro ; The Country and the Roads, 339 ; Evidence of a 
Centralized Government ; Mexican Colonial Towns, 340 ; Irrigation ; The 
Chaparral Desert in Mexico, 341 ; Old Fields of Mexico, 342 ; A Mexican 
Town ; San Fernando, 343 ; The People, 344; Indians, 345 ; Lodgings : A 
Mexican Interior, 346 ; Tortillas ; A Pretty Study, 348 ; A Mexican Repast, 
349 ; A Savage, 351 ; The Faculty in Mexico, 352 ; Annexation, 353 ; An 
Agricultural Proprietor, 354 ; Condition of Mexico, 355. 

CHAPTER VI. 

ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 

The Ranch of Mr. Iljhazy, ex-Governor of Comorn ; Hungarians in Texas, 356 ; 
Neu-Braunfels to Lagrange ; Lumber, 357 ; Gennan Farmers in Eastern 
Texas ; Northern Settlers. 358 ; Free and Slave Labor together, 359 ; Capa- 
city of Whites for Cotton Labor ; Corn from Ohio again ; Recklessness ; 
- Brazos Bottoms ; A 300 Negro Plantation ; Craw-fish Prairie, 360 ; Houston ; 
Business, Cotton Depot, Amusements, Tar Cisterns, 361 ; Germans ; Mag- 
nolias ; A Runaway Captured, 362 ; A Damaged Property ; Slave Trade at 
Houston ; The Low Prairies, 363 ; Results of Personal Explorations in South- 
eastern Texas, 364 ; The Population Characterized ; A Bad Market for Book- 
sellers, 365 ; Serpents, Alligators, and other Traveling Companions ; Harris- 
burg ; A Promising Town ; Up a Tree ; A Negro's Direction, 366 ; Copper 
Currency ; A First-class Texas Grazing Establishment, 367 ; An Un-patented 
Milking Process, 368; Cattle "Driving," 369; Bogs and Insects, 370; 
44 Goched" — Value of Cattle — Sheep, Horses, 371 ; Breaking a Wild Horse — 
Feats of Horsemanship, 372 ; Exhausting Rest; Eye-water, 373 ; A Stunted 
Hamlet ; Retrograding Country ; Negroes Taken for Debt ; Germans and 
Trash, 374; Sour Lake — A Lemonade Spring, 375; Naphtha; A Bottom 
Boggle ; The Neches Bottoms ; Rather Wet, 376 ; Soundings, 377 ; Fanny 
in Extremity, 378 ; A Tennessee Yankee ; A Parting ; Judy Convalescent, 
379 ; Health of the rest of the Party; The Climate, 380 ; To Consumptives ; 
Out of Texas ; The Sabine ; A Cornless and Roadless Country, 381 ; Diet Im- 
proving ; Queer Sleeping Arrangements; " Dipping;" Respectable Barba- 
rians, 382 ; An Examination ; Light to Bed, 383 ; Knives to Let ; Young Men 
and their Education, 385 ; Free Negroes and Vigilance Committees, 387 ; 
Cattle Crossing at the Sabine, 388; The Drover's Story, 390; Western 
Louisiana, 391 ; Among the Creoles, 395 ; An Exile from Old Virginia, 397 ; 
A "Native Dutch 'Frenchman's" Farm, 401 ; Arrival in Civilization, 405; 
To New Orleans, 407 



XXXIV INDEX. 

CHAPTER VII. 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 

Historical and Actual Position, 408 ; Surface and Structure, 411 ; Climate, 412; 
Sources of Wealth, 414 ; Rail-roads, 416. 

CHAPTEE VIII. 

REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 

New States, 418 ; Northeastern Texas, 419 ; Eastern Texas, 423; Central Texas, 
424 ; Sugar ; Western Texas, 425 ; Number and Position of the Germans, 
428; Competition and Collision of Free and Slave Labor; Political Divisions 
among the Germans, 433 ; History of an Attempt to Maintain a Free News- 
paper, 434 ; "Americanism'* in Texas, 43G; Method of Persecution, 437 ; 
Thrashing an Abolitionist, 438; Incendiary Fanaticism in Texas, 439 ; Pro- 
gress Westward of Slavery, 440 ; The Obstacles ; The Mexican Border, 441 ; 
Mustangs and Mustangers, 443 ; Catching Wild Horses — Their Unconquer- 
able Viciousness, 444 ; The Soil and Climate, 445 ; Meteorological Pheno- 
mena and Conjectures; Northwestern Texas, 446 ; The Staked Plain, 447 ; 
The Pacific Railroad, 449 ; The Rio Grande Country, 451 ; Country Beyond 
the Rio Grande ; Further Annexation, 453. 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS, 



CHAP. I. 

ROUTE TO TEXAS. 

SOUTHERN PHENOMENA. 

In entering new precincts, the mind instinctively looks for salient 
incidents to fix its whereabouts and reduce or define its vague 
anticipations. Last evening's stroll in Baltimore, from the absence 
of any of the expected indications of a slave state, left a certain 
restlessness which two little incidents this morning speedily dissi- 
pated. On reaching the station, I was amused to observe that 
the superintendent was, overseer-like, bestride an active little 
horse, clattering here and there over the numerous rails, hurrying 
on passengers, and issuing from the saddle his curt orders to a 
gang of watchful locomotives. 

And five minutes had not elapsed after we were off at a wave 
of his hand, before a Virginia gentleman by my side, after care- 
lessly gauging, with a glance, the effort necessary to reach the 
hinged ventilator over the window of the seat opposite us, spat 
through it without a wink, at the sky. Such a feat in New Eng- 
land would have brought down the house. Here it failed to 

excite a thought even from the performer. 
1 



2 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Here was rest for the mind. Scene, the South ; bound West. 
It could be nowhere else. The dramatis persons at once fell 
into place. The white baby drawing nourishment from a black 
mamma on the train ; the tobacco wagons at the stations ; the 
postillion driving ; the outside chimneys and open-centre houses ; 
the long stop toward noon at a railway country inn ; the loafing 
nobles of poor whites, hanging about in search of enjoyment or 
a stray glass of whisky or an emotion; the black and yellow 
boys, shy of baggage, but on the alert for any bit of a lark with 
one another; the buxom, saucy, slipshod girls within, bursting 
with fat and fun from their dresses, unable to contain themselves 
even during the rude ceremonies of dinner ; the bacon and sweet 
potatoes and corn-bread that made for most of the passengers 
the substantials of that meal; the open kitchen in the back- 
ground, and the unstudied equality of black and white that visibly 
reigned there : nothing of this was now a surprise. 



BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD. 

The Baltimore and Ohio Kailroad runs for some eighty miles 
through a fine farming country, with its appropriate, somewhat 
tame, rural scenery. At Harper's Ferry, the Potomac hurries 
madly along high cliffs over a rocky bed, and the effect, as you 
emerge from a tunnel and come upon the river, is startling and 
fine. Jefferson pronounced it the finest scenery he had seen — 
but he was a Virginian. After this the road follows up the valley 
as far as Cumberland, coming upon new and wilder beauties at 
every bend of the stream. But a day in a railway car is, in the 
best surroundings, a tedious thing, and it is with great pleasure 
that the traveler, in the early evening, shakes the dust from his 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 



back, and partakes of a quietly-prolonged supper in the St. 
Nicholas, the gaudy but excellent new inn at 



CUMBERLAND. 

This Cumberland, whence comes so much winter-evening com- 
fort to us of the North, has itself the aspect of a most comfort- 
less place. The houses of its 3,000 inhabitants are scattered 
among and upon steep hills, and show little of the taste their 
picturesque situations suggest. There is a certain dinginess and a 
slow, fixed, finished look arising from absence of new constructions, 
that remind you, especially in the dim light of a November rainy 
day, of the small manufacturing towns of England. Judging 
from the tones we heard and the signs we saw in some parts of 
the town, some portion of its population seems to have come 
from Wales or the West of England, and to possess, legitimately, 
a x slow-going propensity. 

The mines, from which the chief supply of bituminous coal is 
drawn for the use of the Atlantic coast, lie ten miles from the 
town, and communicate with it and the world by a branch railway. 
The transportation of this material forms one of the chief items 
of the income of the B. and 0. Kailroad, The price of the coal, 
for which we in New York were paying nine dollars a tun, was 
in the town one dollar and a half; at the mines, unselected, half 
a dollar — a difference which, for my own part, I gladly pay. 

Unattractive as is the town of Cumberland, it is not easily 
forgotten, from its romantic position. From the cultivated hills 
adjoining it, is seen a view which is, in its way, unsurpassed, and, 
but a few minutes' walk above it, is a wooded gorge, into which a 
road enters as into monstrous jaws, and, after sunset, the heart 



4 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

fairly quakes, spite of reason, to intrude, defiant of such scowls 
of nature. 

OVER THE BLUE RIDGE. 

From Cumberland the rails plunge into the wild Blue 
Eidge Mountains, and only by dint of the most admirable per- 
sistence in tunneling, jumping, squeezing, and winding, do they 
succeed in forming a path for the locomotive over to the great 
basin of the Ohio. Vast sums and incredible Southern pains 
have laid this third great social artery from the West, and New 
York, after all, receives the blood. 

Eocks, forests, and streams, alone, for hours, meet the eye. 
The only stoppages are for wood and water, and the only way- 
passengers, laborers upon the road. The conquered solitude be- 
comes monotonous. It is a pleasure to get through and see 
again the old monotony of cultivation. 

Broader grow the valleys, wider and richer the fields, as you 
run down with the waters the Western slope. At length the 
fields are endless, and you are following upward a big and mud- 
dy stream which must be — and is, the Ohio. You have reached 
the great West. Here are the panting, top-heavy steamboats, 
surging up against wind and current. The train slips by them 
as if they were at anchor. Here are the flat-boats, coal laden 
from Pittsburgh, helpless as logs, drifting patiently down the 
tide. And here is 

WHEELING. 

A dark clouded day, a " first-class hotel " of the poorest 
sort, a day which began coldly by a dim candle four hours before 
sunrise, and ended beyond midnight, after ten hours' waiting on 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 5 

steamboat promises, are not conducive to the most cheering 
recollections of any town ; but the brightest day would not, I 
believe, relieve the bituminous dinginess, the noisiness, and 
straggling dirtiness of Wheeling. Its only ornament is the 
suspension bridge, which is as graceful in its sweep as it is vast in 
its design and its utility. 

THE OHIO. 

The stage of water in the river was luckily ample for first- 
class boats, and we embarked upon the David L. White, when at 
length she came, on her long way from Pittsburgh to New 
Orleans. She was a noble vessel, having on board every arrange- 
ment for comfortable travel, including a table of which the best 
hotel would not be ashamed. The passage to Cincinnati occupies 
thirty-sjx hours. From some conversational impressions, our an- 
ticipations as to enjoyment of scenery on the Ohio were small, 
and we were most agreeably disappointed to find the book that 
nature offered occupying us during all our daylight, to the 
exclusion of those paper-covered ones we had thought it neces- 
sary to provide. Primeval forests form the main feature, but so 
alternating with farms and villages as not to tire. Limestone- 
hills and ranges bluff frequently in bold wooded or rocky masses 
upon the river, terminating by abrupt turns the stately vistas of 
the longer reaches. For a first day, the rafts, " the flats," all the 
varieties of human river-life, are a constant attraction. The 
towns, almost without exception, are repulsively ugly and out of 
keeping with the tone of mind inspired by the river. Each 
has had its hopes, not yet quite abandoned, of becoming the 
great mart of the valley, and has built in accordant style its one 
or two tall brick city blocks, standing shabby-sided alone on the 



6 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

mud-slope to the bank, supported by a tavern, an old storehouse, 
and a few shanties. These mushroom cities mark only a night's 
camping-place of civilization. 

The route, via Baltimore to Cincinnati, we found, on the whole, 
a very agreeable one. The time is somewhat longer than by the 
more northern routes ; but the charming scenery and the greater 
quiet and comfort, amply repay the delay. 

THE OHIO VINEYARDS. 

Twenty miles above Cincinnati begin the vines. They occupy 
the hill- slopes at the river's edge, and near the city cover nearly 
the whole ground that can be seen under cultivation. They are 
grown as on the Khine, attached to small stakes three or four 
feet high, and some three by six feet apart. What a pity the 
more graceful Italian mode of swinging long vine-branches from 
tree to tree, could not be adopted. But profit and beauty are, as 
often, here again at war. The principal cultivators are naturally 
Germans. For the most part the land is held by them in small 
parcels ; but much is also rented for a fixed share of the crop. 
Only the large owners bottle their own crop. The grape juice is 
mostly sold to dealers who have invested in the necessary store- 
houses and apparatus. The principal dealer, as well as the largest 
landholder and grower of vines, is Nicholas Longworth. To his 
perseverance in prolonged experiments we are indebted for all 
this success in the production of native wine. It is pleasant to 
find now and then a case where the deserved fame and fortune 
have followed intelligent efforts of such a kind, before the hand 
that exerted them is laid low. The value of the wine crop in 
its present youth is little known. 

In 1855, the crop about Cincinnati is estimated at $150,000. 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 7 

There are about 1,500 acres of vines planted; 1,000 in full 
bearing, producing this year about 150 gallons only, to the acre. 
In 1853, the average crop was 650 gallons ; the extreme yield 
900 gallons to the acre. The acres planted in 1845, 350; 
in 1852, 1,200. Missouri and Illinois have also (1855) 1,100 
acres planted. Mr. Longworth is said to have at the end of 
1855, 300,000 bottles stored in his cellars ; one-half bottled 
during the year. It will not be many years, I hope, before the 
famous hog crop will be of less value to this region in compari- 
son. Let us pray for the day when honest wine and oil shall 
take the place of our barbarous whisky and hog-fat. 

The approach to Cincinnati is announced by the appearance 
of villas, scattered on the hills that border the north side 
of the river, and by the concentration of human life and 
motion along the bank. But a moment after these indica- 
tions attract your attention, the steamer rounds with a great sweep 
to the levee, and, before you appreciate your arrival, is pushing its 
nose among the crowd of boats, butting them unmercifully hither 
and thither in the effort for an inside place. 

CINCINNATI. 

From the edge of the stream rises the levee — a paved open hill 
of gentle inclination, allowing steamboats and carmen to carry 
on their usual relations at all stages of water. Then extends 
backward, on a gently-rising plateau, a square mile or two of 
brick blocks and hubbub. Then rise steeply the hills by which, 
in semicircle, the city is backed. At their base is a horrid de- 
bateable ground, neither bricks and mortar nor grass, but gaunt 
clay, before whose tenacity the city has paused, uncertain whether 
to " grade" or mount the obstinate barrier. 



8 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

There is a prevalent superstition in Cincinnati that the hinder- 
most citizen will fall into the clutches of the devil. A wholesome 
fear of this dire fate, secret or acknowledged, with more or less 
candor, actuates the whole population. A ceaseless energy per- 
vades the city and gives its tone to everything. A profound 
hurry is the marked characteristic of the place. I found it diffi- 
cult to take any repose or calm refreshment, so magnetic is the 
air. " Now then, sir !" everything seems to say. Men smoke 
and drink like locomotives at a relay-house. They seem to 
sleep only like tops, with brains in steady whirl. There is no 
pause in the tumultuous life of the streets. The only quiet thing 
I found was the residence of Mr. Longworth — a delicious bit of 
rural verdure, lying not far from the heart of the town, like a 
tender locket heaving on a blacksmith's breast. 

What more need be said of Cincinnati ? Bricks, hurry, and a 
muddy roar make up the whole impression. The atmosphere, at 
the time of our visit, was of damp coal smoke, chilly and dirty, 
almost like that of the same season in Birmingham. I was in- 
terested in inquiries about its climate, and learned that extreme 
variations of temperature were as common as upon the sea-board. 
That during one long season it was exposed to a fierce sun and 
a penetrating dust, and during another to piercing winds from the 
northwest. Snow falls abundantly, but seldom survives its 
day. On the whole, it was doubted if anxious lungs were better 
here than in New York. The environs, the purgatory of red 
clay once passed, are agreeable enough, even at this season, to be 
called charming — tasteful houses, standing on natural lawns 
among natural park-groups of oak, with river views and glimpses. 
The price of land for such places, within thirty or forty minutes' 
drive of town, was, I was told, $1,000 per acre; and, of all cli- 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 9 

gible land, within ten miles around, $200. Cheap soil cannot, 
therefore, be an inducement for settlers here. These are New 
York prices. 

PORK. 

Pork-packing in Cincinnati was, at the time of our visit, nearly 
at a stand-still, owing to the mild and damp weather unusual at 
the season. One establishment we found in partial operation. 
We entered an immense low-ceiled room and followed a vista of 
dead swine, upon their backs, their paws stretching mutely to- 
ward heaven. Walking down to the vanishing point, we found 
there a sort of human chopping-machine where the hogs were 
converted into commercial pork. A plank table, two men to lift 
and turn, two to wield the cleavers, were its component parts. 
No iron cog-wheels could work with more regular motion. Plump 
falls the hog upon the table, chop, chop ; chop, chop ; chop, chop, 
fall the cleavers. All is over. But, before you can say so, 
plump, chop, chop ; chop, chop ; chop, chop, sounds again. 
There is no pause for admiration. By a skilled sleight of hand, 
hams, shoulders, clear, mess, and prime fly off, each squarely cut 
to its own place, where attendants, aided by trucks and dumb- 
waiters, dispatch each to its separate destiny — the ham for 
Mexico, its loin for Bordeaux. Amazed beyond all expectation 
at the celerity, we took out our watches and counted thirty-five 
seconds, from the moment when one hog touched the table until 
the next occupied its place. The number of blows required I 
regret we did not count. The vast slaughter-yards we took 
occasion not to visit, satisfied at seeing the rivers of blood that 
flowed from them. 
1* 



10 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

TO LEXINGTON. 

We left Cincinnati at daybreak of a cloudy November day, 
upon the box of the coach for Lexington, Ky. After waiting a 
long time for the mail and for certain dilatory passengers, we 
crossed the river upon a dirty little high pressure ferry-boat, and 
drove through the streets of Covington. This city, with its low 
and scattered buildings, has the aspect of a suburb, as in fact it 
is. It is spread loosely over a level piece of ground, and is 
quite lacking in the energy and thrift of its free-state neighbor. 
Whether its slowness be legitimately traced to its position upon 
the slave side of the river, as is commonly done ; or only in 
principal part to the caprice of commerce, is not so sure. It is 
credible enough, that men of free energy in choosing their resi- 
dence, should prefer free laws when other things are equal ; but 
200 miles further down the river, we find (as again at St. Louis) 
that things are not equal, and that the thrift and finery are 
upon the slave side. Leaving it behind, we roll swiftly out upon 
one of the few well-kept macadamized roads in America, and 
enter with exhilaration the gates of magnificent Kentucky. 

THE WOODLAND PASTURES OF KENTUCKY. 

Here spreads, for hundreds of miles before you, an immense 
natural park, planted, seeded to sward, drained, and kept up 
by invisible hands for the delight and service of man. Travel 
where you will for days, you find always the soft, smooth 
sod, shaded with oaks and beeches, noble in age and form, 
arranged in vistas and masses, stocked with herds, deer, and 
game. Man has squatted here and there over the fair heritage, 
but his shabby improvements have the air of poachers' huts 
amidst this luxuriant beauty of nature. It is landscape garden- 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 11 

ing on the largest scale. The eye cannot satiate itself in a whole 
day's swift panorama, so charmingly varied is the surface, and 
so perfect each new point of view. Midway of the route, the 
land is high and rougher in tone, and the richest beauty is only 
reached at the close of the day, when you bowl down into the 
very garden of the state — the private grounds, as it were, of the 
demesne. Here accumulation has been easy, and wealth appears 
in more suitable mansions, occupied by the lords of Durham 
. and Ayrshire herds, as well as of a black feudal peasantry, unat- 
tached to the soil. There is hardly, I think, such another coach 
ride as this in the world, certainly none that has left a more 
delightful and ineffaceable impression on my mind. 

THE ROAD. 

Coach and teams were good, and we made excellent time. 
The weather was mild, and we were enabled to keep the box 
through the day. Our first driver, waked, probably, too early, was 
surly and monosyllabic. The second was gay, with a ringing 
falsetto, which occupied all his attention. 

The third was a sensible, communicative fellow. He told us, 
among other things, that he had once driven over the road, eighty- 
four miles, during a high opposition, in seven hours, including all 
stops. This route is now done by railway, with great gain, no 
doubt, but also with what a loss ! This free canter over the 
hills, exchanged for a sultry drag along the easiest grade. Where 
will our children find their enjoyment when everything gets 
itself done by steam ? 

PORK ON FOOT. 

Our progress was much impeded by droves of hogs, grunting 



12 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

their obstinate way towards Cincinnati and a market. Many of 
the droves were very extensive, filling the road from side to side 
for a long distance. Through this brute mass, our horses were 
obliged to wade slowly, assisted by lash and yells. Though the 
country was well wooded, and we passed through now and then a 
piece of forest, I venture to say we met as many hogs as trees 
in all the earlier part of the day. The bad (warm) weather was 
a subject of commiseration at every stopping place . 

"CASH CLAY," FROM THE KENTUCKY POINT OF VIEW. 

On the box with us were two Kentuckians, bound homewards — 
a farmer and a store-keeper, from the central part of the State. 
. Many of the hogs, they told us, from the brand, belonged to 
Mr. Clay — Cassius — who buys them of farmers, and has them 
driven to market. He had made, they understood, $40,000 the 
previous year, in this business. " Well, he'll lose money this 
time," said one. " No," said the other, " he has sold them all, 
beforehand. They're all contracted for. He'll make another 
$40,000 this year, I shouldn't wonder. I know one man my- 
self who has paid him $2,000 to be let off from his engagement." 

" Well, I aint sorry to have Cash Clay make money." 

" Nor I either. If any man ought to make money, he had." 

" Yes, he had that. He's a dam benevolent man, is Clay. 
There aint a more benevolent man in the state of Kentucky." 

"No there aint, not in the world." 

" He's a brave man. There aint no better man than Clay. 
I like a man that, when he's an abolitionist, frees his own nig- 
gers fust, and then aint afraid to talk to other folks." 

"He's a whole man, if there ever was one. I don't like an 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 13 

abolitionist, but by God I do like a man that aint afraid to say 
"what be believes." 

" I bate an abolitionist, but I do admire a Kentuckian tbat 
. dares to stay in Kentucky and say he's an abolitionist if be is 
one." 

" Tbere aint many men, I reckon," said tbe driver, " tbat bas 
got more friends tban Casb Clay." 

" Tbey are good friends, too." 

" He's got a good many enemies, too." 

" So be bas ; but, I tell you, even bis enemies like bim." 

" There's some of his enemies tbat don't like bim much," said 
tbe farmer (a slaveholder). 

" I reckon they'll let him alone after this, won't they." 
• " Well, I should think they'd got about enough of trying to 
'fight him. There aint a braver man in Kentucky, and I guess 
everybody knows it now." 

Afterwards at Lexington we heard Mr. C. spoken of in a simi- 
lar tone of admiration for his courage and great force of charac- 
ter. He was considered an excellent farmer, of course on the 
subject of slavery " deluded" (with an expression of pity), and 
as to influence, "losing rapidly." /. 

Our farmer, it appeared, was the owner of twenty negroes ; for 
be mentioned that his whole family, including twenty black 
people, were laid up with erysipelas the previous year, and be 
bad lost one of his best boys. Since then he bad had dyspepsia 
horridly. " He wouldn't begrudge the likeliest nigger he had got 
' to anybody who would cure him of dyspepsia." This started 
the store-keeper, who, thenceforward, could talk of little else than 
some " bitters" he had invented from a recipe " he bad found in 
the dispensatory." After using it himself he had put it in circu- 



1*o* 



14 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

lation, and now had a regular labeled bottle, and had collected 
a set of certificates that would be a sure fortune to any man that 
had the capital to advertise. It appeared from the conversation 
that dyspepsia was a common complaint in Kentucky, as God 
knows it ought to be. 

This " bitters" man was a rapid talker, and from the new and 
entire Westernism of his phrases was to us quite an original. I 
wish I could give, in his own language, a story he told of a 
" baar-fight," apropos of a chained cub we passed on the road. 
" By Godfrey," to his companion, " you ought not to have missed 
that." The hero of the tale, was a sorry cur of his own, who till 
that day had been looked upon as a spiritless thing of no account, 
but whose mission was revealed to him when his eyes fell on that 
baar. He came off the champion of the pack, leaving his tail in 
the pit, but a decorated and honored dog. The people came to- 
gether, for twenty miles around, to see that baar-baiting, and the 
most respectable, sober old members of the church, became so 
excited as to hoot and howl like madmen, almost jumping over 
into the fight. 

KENTUCKY FARMING. 

The farms we passed on the road were generally small, and 
had a slovenly ajopearance that ill accorded with the scenery. 
Negro quarters, separate from the family dwelling, we saw scarcely 
anywhere. The labor appeared about equally divided between 
black and white. Sometimes we saw them at work together, but 
generally at separate tasks on the same farm. The main crop ' 
was everywhere Indian corn, which furnishes the food for man 
and beast, and the cash sales evidently of hogs and beef. Many 
of the farms had been a great while under cultivation. Large 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 15 

old orchards were frequent, now loaded with apples left, in many- 
cases, to fall and rot, the season having been so abundant as to 
make them not worth transportation to market. I was much 
surprised, on considering the richness of the soil and the age of 
the farms, that the houses and barns were so thriftless and 
wretched in aspect. They were so, in fact, to one coming from 
the North ; but on further experience they seemed, in recollection, 
quite neat and costly structures compared with the Southern 
average dwellings. 

But a very small proportion of the land is cultivated or fenced, 
in spite of the general Western tendency towards a horizontal, 
rather than a perpendicular agriculture. Immense tracts lie un- 
used, simply parts of our Great West. 

CORN-BREAD BEGINS. THE ROADSIDE. 

We stopped for dinner at a small and unattractive village, and 
at an inn to which scarcely better terms could be applied. The 
meal was smoking on the table ; but five minutes had hardly 
elapsed, when " Stage's ready," was shouted, and all the other 
passengers bolting their coffee, and handing their half dollars to 
the landlord, who stood eagerly in the door, fled precipitately to 
their seats. We held out a few moments longer, but yielded to 
repeated threats that the stage was off without us, and mounted 
to our places amid suppressed oaths on all sides. 

At this dinner I made the first practical acquaintance with 
what shortly was to be the bane of my life, viz., corn-bread and 
1 bacon. I partook innocent and unsuspicious of these dishes, as 
they seemed to be the staple of the meal, without a thought that 
for the next six .months I should actually see nothing else. Here, 
relieved by other meats and by excellent sweet potatoes baked 



16 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and in pone, they disappeared in easy digestion. Taken alone, 
with vile coffee, I may ask, with deep feeling, who is sufficient 
for these things ? 

At one of our stopping-places was a tame crow, hopping about 
in the most familiar way among the horses' heels. When we 
were ready to start, the driver, taking the reins, said to it, " Now 
then, Charley ; look out for yourself, we're going off." The bird 
turned its wise head to one side, gave a sagacious wink with one 
of its bright bead eyes, as much as to say, " Do you look out for 
yourself, never mind me." 

Near another we passed a husking bee — a circle of neighbors, 
tossing rapidly bright ears of corn into a central heap, with jokes 
and good cheer; nearby, a group of idle boys looking on from 
a fence, and half-a-dozen horses tied around. The whole a pic- 
turesque study, which, with the knowing crow added, I would 
like to have preserved on a better medium than one of the 
fading tablets of memory. 

Saddles, it was easy to observe, were very much more used 
here than at the North, and I saw, not unfrequently, saddle-bags 
across them, which had been as traditional in my previous ex- 
perience as the use of bucklers or bows. Not long after, my 
legs grew to that familiarity with them as to be as much aston- 
ished to find themselves free from their pressure for a transient 
ride, as they now would have been to stride them for the first 
time. 

LEXINGTON. 

We had had glowing descriptions of Lexington, and expected 
much. Had we come from the South we should have been 
charmed. Coming from the East we were disappointed in the 
involuntary comparison. Of all Southern towns there are scarce 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 17 

two that will compare with it for an agreeable residence. It is 
regular in its streets, with one long principal avenue, on which 
most of the business is done. The tone of building is more 
firm and quiet than that of most Western towns, and the public 
buildings are neat. There are well-supplied shops; many 
streets are agreeably shaded ; but the impression is one of irre- 
sistible dullness. It is the centre of no great trade, but is the 
focus of intelligence and society for Kentucky, which, however, 
is not concentrated in the town, but spread on its environs. 
These have undeniably a rare charm. The rolling woodland 
pastures come close upon the city, and on almost every knoll is 
a dwelling of cost and taste. Among these is 

HENRY CLAY'S ASHLAND. 

It was not without feeling that we could visit a spot haunted 
by a man who had loomed so high upon our boyhood. Nothing 
had been changed about the grounds or house. His old servant 
showed us such parts of the house as could be visited without 
intrusion, the portraits and the presents. The house was one of 
no great pretensions, and so badly built as to be already falling 
into decay. The grounds were simple and well retired behind 
masses of fine trees ; the whole bearing the look of a calm and 
tasteful retreat. What a contrast life here, with the clash and 
passion, the unceasing and exciting labor of the capitol ! As 
we left, we met Mr. James Clay, once charge to Portugal, who 
purchased the homestead at his father's request. He struck us 
as a man of feeling and good sense, and spoke with regret of 
the necessity of rebuilding the house. He has since done this, 
and has suffered in consequence a bitter and personal newspaper 
controversy. 



18 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Lexington boasts a university, well attended, and ranking 
among the highest Western schools in its departments of Law 
and Medicine. Its means of ordinary education are also said to 
be of the best. 

LEXINGTON AS A EESIDENCB. 

With such advantages, social, atmospheric, educational, what 
residence more attractive for one who would fain lengthen out 
his summers and his days ? Were it only free. In the social 
air there is something that whispers this. You cannot but 
listen. Discussion maybe learned, witty, delightful, only — not 
free. Should you come to Lexington, leave your best thoughts 
behind. The theories you have most revolved, the results that 
are to you most certain, pack them close away, and give them 
no airing here. Your mind must stifle, if your body thrive. 
Apart from slavery, too, but here a product of it, there is that 
throughout the South, in the tone of these fine fellows, these 
otherwise true gentlemen, which is very repugnant — a devilish, 
undisguised, and recognised contempt for all humbler classes. It 
springs from their relations with slaves, " poor whites," and 
tradespeople, and is simply incurable. A loose and hearty blas- 
phemy is also a weakness of theirs, but is on the whole far less 
repulsive. God is known to be forgiving, but slighted men and 
slaves hanker long for revenge. Lexington society, however, 
can, I believe, be said to have less of these faults so offensive to 
a Northern man, than any Southern city equally eligible in other 
respects. 

But, besides the social objections, there are others of a different 
character. Malaria hangs over it, as over all the West, and who- 
ever comes from the East runs double risk from its influences. 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 19 

Labor, other than forced, and consequently, costly, slovenly, and 
requiring incessant supervision, is not to be had. The summer 
heats are tedious and severe, and the droughts so unmitigated as 
that sometimes the land is nearly baked to a depth of five feet, 
and the richest soil is no better than the poorest. 

SLATES IN FACTORIES 

The population of Lexington is about 12,000. It is a market 
for hemp, and manufactures it in a rough way into bagging for 
cotton bales. One of these factories, worked by slaves, we visit- 
ed. The labor was almost entirely done by hand, and very rudely. 
The plan of tasks was followed in the same way as in the to- 
bacco factories at Kiclrmond. By active working, a slave could 
earn himself $2 or $3 a week, besides doing his master's work. 
This sum he is always allowed to expend as he pleases. Thus, 
the stimulus of wages is applied behind the whip, of course the 
prime motor. 

TOWARD LOUISVILLE. 

From Lexington we went by rail to Frankfort and Louisville 
(94 miles ; $3 ; 5 hours). The country passed over is, for 
many miles, of the same general character as that described 
north of Lexington — a rolling or gently-sloping surface, rich 
soil, woodland pastures,* herds, tine farms, and prominent houses. 
Then less-fertile and less-settled districts, elevated and thickly 
wooded with beech, ash, oak, and hickory. Land, we were told, 

* Woodland pastures : a blue grass sod under oaks. The blue grass is in- 
digenous, and is the same much prized with us for lawns. The oak is the burr 
oak, bearing a very large edible acorn, an excellent food for hogs. Its leaves are 
said to decay with great rapidity, so as to nourish, not destroy, the grass on 
which they fall. Throughout this region much attention has been naturally 
given to pure-bred stock. One man is owner of ten buUs and thirty cows, pure 
short-horns, of his own selection and importation. 



20 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

of the better class, and improved, commanded $70 or $80 per 
acre ; near Lexington, $200. Its fertility was described as inex- 
haustible. One field was pointed out that had been cultivated in 
corn for sixty years, without interruption, and without manure. 
Its produce was still forty bushels to the acre, with meagre care. 
Of wheat, fifteen bushels was an average crop, though one farm 
had this year yielded thirty bushels without unusual pains. 

On the train we found acquaintances, and had much animated 
conversation and advice upon our plans of travel. We could not 
help observing that the number of handsome persons in our car 
was unusual, and among the young Kentuckians we saw, were 
several as stalwart in form and manly in expression as any 
young men on whom my eyes have fallen. 

SELF-DEFENSE. 

A young man passing, with a pistol projecting from his pocket, 
some one called out with a laugh — " You'll lose your pistol, 
sir." This opened a little talk on weapons, in which it appeared 
that among young men a bowie-knife was a universal, and a 
pistol a not at all unusual, companion in Kentucky. 

Frankfort has a remarkable situation on the Kentucky river, 
between its bank and a high bluff, which gives a threatening 
gloom to the back of the town. Though the capital of the 
state, it is but a small and unattractive place. Between it and 
Louisville the country is comparatively sterile and vacant- — the 
country-houses are but cabins — and the villages small, and dirty, 
with no feature of external interest. The railway lies through a 
region in many places heavily wooded with beech, mingled with 
oak, hickory, sweet gum, and sugar maple. The mistletoe 
thrives here, selecting, when convenient, the boughs of the elm and 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 21 

the black locust. Near Louisville we saw the Kentucky coffee- 
tree, suggesting, at this season, our ailanthus. 

BLACK CONVERSATION. 

Near us in the railway car sat three mulattoes, quite at ease, 
and exciting no attention. Two of them were exceedingly white, 
and one looked so like an English friend of ours I should have 
hailed him passing in very early twilight. Their conversation, 
when audible, was ludicrously black, however. At a station one 
of them said, " I forgot to provide myself with cigors last night, 
so when I got up I hadn' got nothin' to smoke. I told Chloe 
and she jus' looked roun' on the floor, and ther' she found seven 
stumps." 

" Good gracious Lord, you didn't smoke 'um, did you t" 
"Yes, I did that, and" — the rest was lost in uproarious guf- 
faws. At another point the following queer passage reached us : 
" I'd rather belong to the meanest white man in Scott County, 
and have to get 200 lashes a-day, well laid on, with a raw 
hide — " 

FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW. 

Here belongs, perhaps, a bit of Louisville conversation. We 
were passing on the river bank just as a flat, loaded with furni- 
ture, manned by a white and black crew, was shoved off for the 
other shore. A man near us shouted to the pilot, as the boat 

drifted off — " H , remember, if any of them niggers, God 

damn 'em, tries to run, when you're over to the point, you've got 
a double-barrel fowling-piece loaded with buck." 

" Yes, God damn 'em, I know it." 

The negroes listened without remark or expression. 

The general impression, from the negroes we saw in both city 



22 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and country, is one of a painfully clumsy, slovenly, almost hope- 
less race. Intercourse with them, and dependence on them, as 
comjmlsory as is that of a master, would be 5 to a man of Northern 
habits, a despair. 

LOUISVILLE. 

Louisville has interminable ragged, nasty suburbs, and lacks 
edifices — in other respects it is a good specimen of a brisk and 
well-furnished city. Its business buildings are large and suitable, 
its dwellings, of the better class, neat, though rarely elegant, its 
shops gay and full, its streets regular and broad, its tone active, 
without the whirr of Cincinnati. It has great business, both as 
an entrepot and as itself, a manufacturing producer. It owes its 
position to the will of nature, who stopped here, with rapids, the 
regular use of the river. Cincinnati, by the canal around them, 
has, however, almost free competition with it, and it has well 
stood its ground, showing some other than a temporary necessity 
for itself. It has grown with all a Western rapidity. In 1800, 
population, 600 ; 1820, 4,000 ; 1840, 21,000 ; 1850, about 
50,000. 

The hotel talk, while we stayed, was of little else than the 
Matt. Ward tragedy, and dire were the threats of summary 
punishment by the people, did the law fail in giving avenging 
justice. 

DOWN THE OHIO. 

Finding that the night exposure, by stage, would be too great 
to be voluntarily encountered at the season, we very reluctantly 
abandoned our plan of proceeding across the state to Nashville, 
by the way of the Mammoth Cave, and ordered our baggage to 

be sent on board the favorite steamer " Pike, No. ," up for 

St. Louis. The promise of steamboat speed and comfort was 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 23 

too seductive, and the charms of river scenery, both on the Ohio 
and the Cumberland, had been glowingly painted for us. 

Over a deep-rutted miry road, cut up by truck loads of cotton, 
sugar, and iron, we were driven two or three miles to Portland, 
once the rival, now the port and mean suburb, of Louisville. 
After only a few hours more or less, not days as we feared, be- 
yond her advertised time, the fast mail boat Pike took her 
departure. 

STEAMBOAT TIME. 

It was a matter of luck, we found, that we were off so soon, and 
was so considered, with mutual congratulations, by passengers 
generally — other boats, advertised as positively to sail days be- 
fore, lying quietly against the bank as we moved out. Just 
before we left, sitting on the guards, I heard the captain say, 
" Yes, I guess we might as well go off, I don't believe we'll get 
anything more. The agent told me to start out more than an 
hour ago ; but I held on for the chance, you know." Shortly 
after this a man appeared in the distance running down the levee, 
with a carpet-bag, straight for us. The last bell had been rung 
with extra-terrible din, the gang-plank hauled aboard, and men 
were stationed at the hawsers to cast off. " Halloo, look at that 
chap," said the captain, " he's hell-bent on this boat now, aint he. 
I'll have to wait for that fellow, sure." Accordingly the plank 
was got out again, and the individual, who proved to be a deck 
passenger, walked on board. 

Toward night of the same day, we were steaming down the 
river at a fine rate, when we suddenly made a shear to the right, 
and, after a long sweep, steamed some distance up the river, and 
gently laid our nose against the bank. The passengers all 
gathered to see the landing. Nothing was said, but, after a few 



24 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

minutes, the mate, who had been dressing, appeared, with a box 
of raisins under his arm, and walked up to a solitary house at 
some distance from the shore. He was met at the door by an old 
gentleman and his wife, to whom he gave the box and a news- 
paper, and, after a moment's chat, he returned on board, gave the 
necessary orders, and we were soon on our way again. Think 
of a huge " floating palace," of 600 tons, with 200 passengers on 
board, spending a quarter of an hour on such an errand ! But 
for thousands of miles here these steamers are the only means 
of communication, and every article, be it a newspaper or a 
thousand bales of cotton, must be delivered or dispatched in this 
one way. 

The Pike proved herself all she claimed to be for safety and 
speed, laying up completely during a thick fog of the evening, 
and running rapidly where the way was clear. Beds and table 
were good, of their kind, as was our general experience on 
Western boats. 

THE RIVER BANKS. 

New Albany, on the Indiana side of the river, nearly opposite 
Portland, appeared a place of great growth and energy. From 
the hammering, we judged that its chief business was the produc- 
tion of machinery. Along the shore are extensive ship-yards, for 
the perpetual creation of these short-lived high-pressure steamers. 
Below this, the only town of note is Evansville, which also has 
an encouraging and free-state look about it. On the Kentucky 
side there is no village of consequence below Louisville. 

Travelers usually make the observation in descending the 
Ohio, that the free side shows all the thrift and taste. It is a 
customary joke to call their attention to this, and encourage 
them to dilate upon it when the boat's head has been turned 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 25 

around without their notice. And I cannot say with candor, 
that taking the whole distance, such was our own observation. 
The advantage, if any, is slight on the side of the free Estates. 
They certainly have more neat and numerous villages, and I 
judge more improved lands along the river bank ; but the dwell- 
ings, not counting negro huts, appeared to us nearly on a par, 
and the farms, at a rough guess, of about equal value. 

What is most striking everywhere, is the immensity of the 
wasted territory, rather than the beauty of the improved. The 
river banks seem, as you glide for hours through them, without 
seeing a house or a field, as if hardly yet rescued from the beasts 
and the savages, so little is the w r ork done compared with that 
which remains to do. Near the mouth of. the Ohio, this is still 
more striking, and on the Mississippi the impression is absolutely 
painful, so rich yet so entirely desolate and unused is the whole 
vast region. There is soil enough here, of the richest class, to 
feed and clothe, with its cotton and its corn, ten-fold our whole 
present population. 

SMITHLAND MOUTH OF THE CUMBERLAND. 

At about 1 A. m., we found ourselves alone with a shivering 
boy, almost speechless with sleep, upon a wharf-boat, looking 
with regret on the fast-drifting lights of the Pike. Following, 
by a blurred lantern, his dubious guidance, we climbed a clay 
bank, and found ourselves shortly before our beds. At a first 
experience of a Western, viz., one-sheeted, bed, I was somewhat 
taken aback ; and, determining not to abandon my hold on civil- 
ization sooner than necessary, I unconscionably caused the cham- 
bermaid, who was also the landlady, to be roused at this late 
hour, and had, amid much grumbling and tedium, my bed put in 



26 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

a normal state. Next morning I was happy to see that several 
panes had been put in the window in anticipation of our arrival, 
and some paper pasted about against the walls, but no provision 
for personal ablutions could be discerned, though as the curtain- 
less window opened on a gallery, there was every opportunity 
for public inspection. Descending in search of these unwonted 
articles, we discovered, by the sour looks we met, that we had 
caused a family indigestion by our night attack, and, suddenly 
concluding to adopt the customs of the country, we were shown 
to the common lavabo, and why not I One rain bathes the just 
and the unjust, why not one wash-bowl? Not twice in the next 
six months, away from cities or from residences we pitched for 
ourselves, did we find any other than this equal and democratic 
arrangement. 

Smithland is — or was, for who knows what a Western year 
may bring forth — a thriving county seat, composed of about 
two taverns, one store, five houses and a wharf-boat. Being 
Thanksgiving day, we dined in company with several of our 
fellow-citizens, wearing full-dress shirts, but no coats, on corn- 
bread and pork, with sweet potatoes, and two pickles. 

The prospect, in view of a long continuance of this life at 
Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland, being composed of 
the trees and bushes of the opposite shore, and of a long, flat 
reach of river, was not encouraging. But, as good fortune 
would have it, we had scarcely began the melancholy digestion 
of our dinner, when the flat stern-wheel boat, David A. Tom- 
kins, came in sight, and made direct for Smithland. On ascer- 
taining that she was actually bound for Nashville, with great 
eagerness we paid our first-class bill, and hurried our baggage on 
board, preferring rather, should delay occur, to contemplate for a 



ROUTE TO TEXAS 27 

season the town, " as it appears from the river bank," to prolong- 
ing our gaze at those bashes and the flat reach that lie before 
the doors of Smithland, mouth of the Cumberland. 

THE D. A. TOMKINS. 

The boat was a good specimen of a very numerous class on 
Western and Southern rivers. They are but scows in build, per- 
fectly flat, with a pointed stem and a square stern. Behind is 
the one wheel, moved by two small engines of the simplest and 
cheapest construction. Drawing but a foot, more or less, of 
water, they keep afloat in the lowest stages of the rivers. Their 
freight, wood, machinery, boilers, hands and steerage passengers, 
are all on the one flat deck just above the surface of the water. 
Eight or ten feet above, supported by light stanchions, is laid 
the floor used by passengers. The engines being, as generally 
in Western boats, horizontal, this floor is laid out in one long 
saloon eight or ten feet wide from the smoke -pipes, far forward, 
which stretches to the stern. It is lined upon each side with 
state-rooms, which open also out upon a narrow upper guard or 
gallery. Perched above all this is the pilot-house, and a range 
of state-rooms for the pilots and officers, popularly known as 
" Texas." To this Texas, inveterate card-players retire on 
Sundays, when custom forbids cards in the saloon. A few feet 
of the saloon are cut off by folding doors for a ladies' cabin. 
Forward of the saloon the upper deck extends around the 
smoke-pipes, forming an open space, sheltered by the pilot- 
deck, and used for baggage and open-air seats. 

Such is the contrivance for making use of these natural 
highways. And really admirable it is, spite of drawbacks, for its 
purpose. Without it the West w T ould have found it impossible 



23 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

to be The West. Koads, in countries so sparsely settled, are im- 
practicable. These craft paddle about, at some stage of water, to 
almost every man's door, bringing him foreign luxuries, - and 
taking away his own productions ; running at high water in 
every little creek, and at low water, taking, with great profit, the 
place of the useless steamers on the main streams. 

Our captain promised we should be in Nashville the following 
day; but he should have added " water and weather permitting," 
for we had one hundred tedious hours to spend upon the narrow 
decks of the Tomkins. We were hardly fairly under way when 
we went foul of a snag, and broke, before we were clear, several 
buckets of our wheel. We ran on in a dilapidated state till near 
night, when the boat's head was put against the bank, and what 
timber was required was cut in the woods. Woods are common 
property here. With this and with planks kept on board for the 
purpose, the repairs were soon effected. With the twilight, how- 
ever, came a thick fog down upon the river, and we remained, in 
consequence, tied quietly to a tree until late the next day, but a 
few miles from Smithland. The evening was something hard to 
pass ; a fierce stove, a rattle of oaths and cards within, and the 
cold fog without. Luckily I had with me a Spanish grammar, in 
view of a probable Mexican journey, and to that I grimly applied 
myself with success. Our passengers were some twenty in num- 
ber, mostly good-natured people from the neighboring country, 
fraternizing loudly with the officers of the boat, over their poker 
and brag. The ladies occupied themselves in sewing and rock- 
ing, keeping up a thin clatter of talk at their end of the cabin. 

Early next day we passed a side-wheel steamer of a small class, 
upon a shoal, almost high and dry. She had been lying for a 
month where she was, all hands discharged, and the whole ma- 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 29 

chine idle. We afterwards passed two or three others of a larger 
size, accidentally locked into the river by a fall of water. Oar 
own craft, though drawing only fourteen inches, was within an ace 
of a similar predicament. After many times grounding, but al- 
ways getting free after more or less delay, we were at length 
driven hard and fast by rapids upon a heap of rocks barely 
covered with water. 

CRUTCHES AND SHOALS. 

Then it was we learned the use of those singular spars which 
may always be seen standing on end against the forward deck, in 
any picture of a Western boat. They are, in fact, steamboat 
crutches. One of these, or the pair, if occasion require, is set 
upon the river-bottom, close to the boat's head, and a tackle led 
from its top to a ring in the deck. Then, by heaving on the 
windlass, the boat is lifted bodily off the ground. As soon as 
she swings free of bottom, steam is applied with fury, and 
forward she goes until the spar slips from its place, and lets her 
fall. Such w r as the amusement we had daring the greater part of 
our Sunday on board. Finally, having secured, by going up and 
down the river, two wood-scows, and having got into them, 
lashed alongside, all our freight, having hobbled about here and 
there, looking for a wetter place, during many hours, we scratched 
over. The freight was soon restored, and the flat-boats sent 
adrift, to find their way home with the current, under the manage- 
ment, one, of an aged negro, the other of a boy and girl of ten- 
der years. 

We were amused to notice of how little account the boat was 

• considered, in comparison with the value of time. Whenever 

any part of the hull was in the way of these spars, axes were 



30 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

applied without a thought, other than that of leaving hull enough 
to keep afloat. In fact, costing little, these steamers are used 
with a perfect recklessness. If wrecked, why, they have long 
ago paid for themselves, and the machinery and furniture can al- 
most always be saved. This apparatus of stilts is used upon the 
largest boats, and good stories are told of their persistence in 
lifting themselves about, and forcing a passage over gravel banks, 
whenever freights are higher than steamboats. The " first boat 
over " sometimes wins extravagant rewards. When sugar, for 
instance, goes up to $1 per pound in up-river towns, after a dry 
season, a few hogsheads will almost pay for a cheap steamboat. 

LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CUMBERLAND. 

The Cumberland, flowing, after its head branches unite, through 
a comparatively level and limited district, though watering an 
immense region, is but a small and quiet stream. Its banks, so 
far as navigation extends, are low, though frequently bluffs of 
small height come jutting down to the river. Ordinarily, the 
trees of the rich bottom alone are to be seen overhanging the 
placid surface. For miles, almost for hours, there is not a break 
iu the line of dripping branches. Monotony is immediate. But 
it is not without suffering this that a traveler can receive true 
and fixed impressions. You turn again and again from listlessly 
gazing at the perspective of bushes, to the listless conversation 
of the passengers, and turn back again. Making a landing, or 
stopping to wood-up, become excitements that make you spring 
from your berth or your book. Two sounds remain still very 
vividly in my ears in thinking of this sail — the unceasing 
" Choosh, choosh ; choosh, choosh," of the steam, driven out into 
the air, after doing its work ; and the " shove her up ! shove her 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 31 

up!" of the officer of the deck, urging the firemen to their 
work. The first of these sounds is of course constantly heard 
upon high-press are boats, and is part and parcel of Western 
scenery. Of a calm day it rings for miles along, announcing 
the boat's approach. On board, the sound is not as annoying 
as might be expected. Carried high, in wide-mouthed pipes, it is 
partly dulled, and, once under way, is but a slow rhythmic accom- 
paniment to the progress, which, in so monotoned a panorama, 
becomes not unpleasant. 

Turkeys, buzzards, and ducks make up the animated nature of 
the scenery. The ducks clatter along the surface, before the 
boat as it approaches, refusing to leave the river, and accumula- 
ting in number as they advance, until all take refuge in the first 
reedy shelter offered by a flat shore. 

' The buzzards, hovering, keen-eyed, in air, swoop here and 
there towards whatever attracts their notice, or loiter idly and 
gracefully along, following the boat's motion with scarce a play 
of the wing, as if disdaining its fussy speed. 

The turkeys sit stupidly in the trees, or fly in small or large flocks 
across the stream. We counted more than ninety in one fright- 
ened throng. One of them was brought down by a rifle-shot 
from the pilot-house, but fell into the woods. The boat stopped 
to pick him up, but the bank proving difficult, we went on with- 
out so pleasant a supper dish. 

It is a matter of surprise to meet so few farms along the 
banks of such a stream. But it is the common surprise of the 
West. Everything almost, but land, is wanting everywhere. 
Except a small quantity of tobacco, hardly anything else than 
corn is here cultivated. The iron works along the river make 
a large market for bread-stuffs, i. e., corn-bread stuffs. The farms 



32 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

are carried on by slave labor on a moderate scale. The farmers, 
not working themselves, are generally addicted to sporting, and 
to an easy view of life. The spots chosen for cultivation, so far 
as can be seen from the river, are those where the land comes 
high to the bank, affording a convenient landing. A consider- 
able item of revenue is the furnishing of wood to passing steam- 
ers — much black muscle paying thus its interest. The wood is 
piled in ranks along the bank, or sometimes a flat is loaded 
ready for steamers to take in tow, so that no time may be lost 
in waiting. We saw the usual picturesque evening wooding- up 
scenes to great advantage here. An iron grating, filled with 
blazing chips of rich pine, is set upon the boat's guard, or upon 
the bank. A red glare is thus thrown over the forest, the water, 
the boat, and the busy group of men, running, like bees, from 
shore to boat. A few minutes of mad labor suffice to cover the 
boat's spare deck-room — -the torch is quenched, and, with a jerk 
of the bell, the steamer moves off into the darkness. 

IRON WORKS.— NEGRO WAGES AND LABOR. 

Near the course of the Cumberland are several furnaces and 
iron mines. Their supply of fuel is drawn from the river forests, 
and near them wood-land sells at $5 per acre. Improved land 
is roughly estimated at $20. Lime is found adjoining the ore. 
One of these establishments employs a capital of $700,000, and 
owns 700 negroes. In most of them the hands are hired. For 
common labor, negroes are almost exclusively used. " Because 
white men don't like the work, and won't do it unless they are 
compelled to. You can't depend on 'em. You can't drive 'em 
like you can a nigger." Foreign laborers are sometimes used; 
but, though they do very well at first, soon " get off the notion." 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 33 

Wages, we were informed by a flat-boatman, were from forty cents 
to one dollar per day, with board. White men don't hire by the 
year ; too much like a nigger. The furnaces pay $200 a year wages, 
and, for hands at all skilled, $250. A gentleman on board, 
however, tells me he hires his boys in preference to farmers 
at $120 a year (clothed and M.D.'d), because it is safer. They 
are less subject to accidents ; they do not work so fiercely and 
wear themselves out, and are less likely to fall into bad habits. 
The negroes themselves much prefer the furnaces, because, 
though the work is far more severe, " there is more life," and 
they can get money in plenty by overwork, as in the factories. 
The mate tells us that, for the same reason, negroes much prefer 
being hired to boats. They then get " Sunday money" for 
work on Sunday, and pick up little sums in various other ways, 
working on other boats, or helping, if firemen, the deck hands in 
port ; doing extra work out of their watch ; taking care of 
horses, luggage, etc. 

It is not unusual for the slave to buy his time of his owner at 
a fixed price, and to hire himself on the river. The money 
thus acquired they, of course, spend as pleases themselves. 
Much of it they drink. The black deck hands we have ob- 
served calling for drinks at the bar several times in an evening. 
" It's the kind of life niggers like," says the mate. " They'll 
have almost nothing to do maybe for a day or two, and then 
have to work like the devil, perhaps all night, if the boat gets 
aground or has a big lot of freight to come on at a landing. 
They just make a frolic of it. White men don't like to work 
so, but it just suits niggers. They go to singing, and work as 
if they were half crazy." Steamboat food also pleases them 

much better than their farm allowance. 

2* 



34 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

In the river villages are some tobacco factories, in which 
negroes are alone employed. In cotton factories only whites, 
because negroes cannot be trusted to take care of machinery, 
and negro women's capacity for labor in the field makes their 
wages higher than white women's. 

LIVE FREIGHT. 

One evening we were hailed in the darkness to come in and 
take some freight aboard. It proved to be a negro woman 
which her master wished to send to Nashville. Putting her on 
board, he demanded a bill of lading. The captain declined to 
sign it. " Then I can't send her." " Very well. I'll be danr d 
if ever I sign a bill of lading for that sort of property. She 
might choose to jump overboard. Shove off. Go ahead." 
" What boat is that ?" " The D. A. Tomkins." " Are you 
from Cincinnati"?" "Yes, damn you." 

A friend told us of a singular scene of which he was once 
witness at Louisville. A large gang of negroes, in irons, had 
been brought on board a boat, bound down the river. The 
captain coming on board saw them, and was so seized with 
indignation that he swore he would never carry a slave on his 
boat, and ordered the whole gang, their master, and his baggage, 
to be hustled out upon the levee. It was no sooner said than 
done, to the great astonishment of the bystanders, who, however, 
were awed by his impetuous anger, and made no demonstration. 

As we lay quiet one evening in the fog, we heard and listened 
long to the happy wordless song of the negroes gathered at 
fire-light work, probably corn-husking, on some neighboring 
plantation. The sound had all the rich and mellow ring of 
pure physical contentment, and did one good to hear it. Like 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 35 

ttie nightingale, the performers seemed to love their own song, 
and to wait for its far off echo. It was long before we discover- 
ed that this was artificial, and came in response from the next 
plantation. No doubt, had one the tender and ubiquitous ear of 
a fairy, he might hear, of a fine evening, this black melody, min- 
gled with the whippoorwills' notes, all the way from Carolina to 
Kansas, resounding, as the moon went up, from river to river. 

NASHVILLE. 

It was with very great pleasure that we left the woods behind 
us, and emerged into the cultivated district surrounding Nash- 
ville. On a narrow boat, the berths and table must be corre- 
spondingly restricted, and four days of such confinement prove a 
great fatigue. After an amount of excited shrieking on the part 
of our steam-whistle, in quite inverse proportion to our real im- 
portance, we opened the town, and in a few minutes lay beneath 
its noble suspension bridge, resting our crazy head upon its levee. 
Two negroes with carriages had answered our tremendous calls, 
two with hand-barrows soon joined them, and we were very 
shortly in lodgings in the heart of the town. 

The approach by the river, at a low stage of water, is anything 
but striking. The streets are, as usual, regular — some of them 
broad — but the aspect of the place, as a whole, is quite uninvit- 
ing. The brick, made from adjacent clay, are of a sombre hue, 
and give, with many neglected frame houses, a dull character to 
a first impression ; in fact, though there are some retired resi- 
dences of taste in the town, there is little that calls out admira- 
tion from an Eastern man.* It is our misfortune that all the 



* The mansions of palatial magnitude and splendor, mentioned in Lippin- 
cott's late Gazetteer, we did not see. 



36 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

towns of the Republic are alike, or differ in scarcely anything 
else than in natural position or wealth. Our federal' union has 
been also architectural. Nashville has, however, one rare national 
ornament, a capitol, which is all it pretends to be or need to be. 

The whole city is on high ground ; but this stands at its head, 
and has a noble prominence. It is built of smooth-cut blue lime- 
stone, both within and without, and no stucco, sham, paint, nor 
even wood-work, is anywhere admitted. Ornamenting its cham- 
bers are columns of a very beautiful native porphyry, fine white 
grains, in a chocolate ground. Better laws must surely come 
from so firm and fit a senate house. 

Like Lexington, Nashville stands in the centre of a rich dis- 
trict, for which it is a focus of trade and influence. Beino- also 
the state capital, and its chief town in point of size, it holds its 
most distinguished and cultivated society. In its vicinity are 
some large and well-administered estates, whose management 
puts to shame the average bungling agriculture of the state. The 
railroad to Chatanooga, connecting with the seaboard towns, was 
just completed at the time of our visit, and gave promise of renew- 
ing the vigorous youth and growth of the town. Perhaps the 
demands and condition of its society are best illustrated by one 
fact, which may be said to speak volumes — the city has a book- 
store (Mr. Berry's), which is thought to contain a better collec- 
tion of recent literature, on sale, than is to be found elsewhere 
in the United States. Certainly its shelves have the appearance 
of being more variously filled than any accessible to dollars and 
cents in New York, and furnished us everything we could ask at 
a moment's notice. 

The papulation of the town, in 1853, was estimated at 18,000. 
It is a speaking fact that a state so large should show a capital 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 37 

so small. Nor, except Memphis, its port, which has 10,000, is 
there any other town w 7 orth mentioning in the state. Servile 
labor must be unskilled labor, and unskilled labor must be dis- 
persed over land, and cannot support the concentrated life nor 
amass the capital of cities. 

RETURN TO THE OHIO. 

After a day or two of cordial personal intercourse, w r e left 
Nashville, by water, for New Orleans. Taking a light-draught 
passenger-steamer down the Cumberland, we met with no delay, 
other than that usual at the time of starting. The boat was ad- 
vertised for ten o'clock. Wishing to make an excursion, we went 
onboard at two, and stated our plans to the captain. He had no 
objection to our excursion, but his boat was going off instantly, 
and we must hurry our baggage on board if we wished to go in 
her. "We did so, and then sat five hours in that dismalest of all 
delays, the waiting to be off. 

We passed Smithland the second morning, and shortly after 
reached Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee, a much jauntier 
place than its neighbor. By good luck, a first-class New Orleans 
steamer rounded to the wharf-boat just as we arrived, and with 
hardly a moment's delay we were installed in one of her capacious 
state-rooms. 

THE SULTANA. 

The Sultana was an immense vessel, drawing nine feet, and 
having an interminably long saloon. Loaded to the full, her 
guards, even at rest, were on the exact level of the water, and the 
least curve in her course, or movement of her living load, sent one 
of them entirely under. Like the greater number of Western boats 
I had the fortune to travel upon, some part of her machinery w r as 



38 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" out of order." In this case one of the wheels was injured and 
must be very gently used. Carrying the mails, and making many 
landings, this proved a serious detention, and we were more than 
six days in making the passage from Cairo to New Orleans, w 7 hich 
may be made in little over two. 

Little could be added, within the same space, to the steamboat 
comfort of the Sultana. Ample and well-ventilated state-rooms, 
trained and ready servants, a substantial as well as showy table ; 
at the head of all, officers of dignity and civility. A pleasant 
relic of French river dominion is the furnishing of red and white 
wines for public use at dinner. A second table provides for the 
higher employes of the boat and for passengers who have found 
themselves de trop at the first. A third is set for white servants 
and children, and a fourth for blacks. Among the last, several 
ladies made their appearance, in whom, only when thus pointed 
out, could you observe any slight indication of colored ancestry. 
No wise man, therefore, should fall blind in love, on board these 
steamers, till this fourth table has been carefully examined. 

THE MISSISSIPPI. 

In a voyage so long you forget the attitude of expectation 
usual on a steamboat, and adapt your habits to the new kind of 
life. It is not, after all, very different from life at a watering- 
place. Day after day you sit down to the same table with the 
same company, changing slightly its faces as guests come and go. 
You meet the same persons in your walks upon the galleries 
and in evening conversation. New acquaintances are picked up 
and welcomed to more or less of intimacy. Groups form common 
interests, and from groups cliques and social envies. The life, 
especially in the tame Mississippi scenery, is monotonous, but 



ROUTE TO TEXAS. 39 

is barely long enough to get tedious, and the monotony is 
of a kind you are not sorry to experience once in a lifetime. 
With long sleeps, necessitated by nocturnal interruptions from 
landings and woodings, long meals, long up and down walks, and 
long conversations, duly interlarded with letters and books, time 
passes, and space. With the Southern passengers, books are a 
small resource, cards fill every vacuum. Several times we were 
expostulated with, and by several persons inquiries were made, 
with deep curiosity, as to how the deuce we possibly managed to 
pass our time, always refusing to join in a game of poker, which 
was the only comprehensible method of steaming along. The 
card parties, begun after tea, frequently broke up only at dawn 
of day, and loud and vehement disputes, as to this or that, occu- 
pied not only the players, but, per force, the adjacent sleepers. 
Much money was lost and won with more or less gaiety or 
bitterness, and whatever pigeons were on board were duly plucked 
and left to shiver. 

Nothing can be less striking than the river scenery after the 
first great impression of solemn magnitude is dulled. Before 
and behind are eight or ten miles of seething turbid water ; on 
each sicje is half a mile of the same, bounded by a sand or mud 
bank, overhung by the forest. The eye finds nowhere any 
salience. Steamers, flats, rafts, wood-yards and villages (almost 
synonymous), now and then a little rise of land charted as a 
" bluff," a large snag, a cut-off, where the river has charged 
through an opposing peninsula — such are the incidents that 
serve to mark the hours ; in the days they are forgotten, and, as 
at sea, you mark only the weather and the progress. 

Moving constantly southward, you find each day pleasant 
tokens of a milder zone. First come the scathed leaves still 



40 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

clinging to the cotton-woods. Then the green willows and pop- 
lars, and the cotton-wood unharmed. Then magnolias and cot- 
ton fields show themselves, and you dispense after dinner with 
your overcoat. Then Spanish moss — soon in such masses as to 
gray the forest green. Then cypress swamps, the live oak and 
the palmetto along the shore, preluding but little the roses, jes- 
samines, and golden oranges, the waving brightness of the cane- 
flelds, and the drifting clouds from the sugar works. 

Human life along the Mississippi is indescribably insignificant. 
To use a popular expression, it is " literally nowhere." The 
villages having large names upon the map are really but a 
shanty or two, and when found will hardly serve to make a 
note on. Even Chuzzlewit's descriptions might pass as not far 
from accurate. I had heard some ludicrous accounts of Cairo, 
for instance, at the mouth of the Ohio, but was fairly shocked 
with amusement to see it in all sober detail composed of item, 
one house, leaning every way, uncertain of the softest spot to 
fall ; item, one shanty, labeled " Telegraph office ;" item, four 
flat-boats, high and dry, labeled "boarding," "milk," etc.; 
item, four ditto, afloat, labeled " Post-office," " milk," etc. 
Compared with such a town as this, our craft, with its vast popu- 
lation and regal splendor, should rank a great metropolis. Most 
of these places find it as necessary to show their name upon the 
spot as upon the map, and display large permanent signs toward 
the river, as 

ORATORIO LANDING. 

Sometimes other attractions are added in large letters, as 

NORTHERN TERMINUS, MOBILE, OHIO R. R. — 5,000 MEN WANTED. 

And will be " wanted" a long time, I fear. The Mississippi val- 
ley, in fact, with all its 16,000 miles of uninterrupted steamboat 



ROUT E TO TEXAS. 



41 



navigation, is a great wilderness of unexplored fertility, into 
which a few men have crept like ants into a pantry. We give it 
a vast importance in our thoughts, but it is an entirely prospect- 
ive one. Has the reader ever thought to compare, for example, 
the twelve or fourteen hundred miles of river between St. Louis 
or Louisville and New Orleans with the one hundred and fifty 
that flow between Troy and Albany and New York? If not, a 
little footing up of figures from the last census will surprise him : 





Pop. 




Pop. 


Louisville 


43.194 

77.860 
8.841 
3.678 


Albany and Troy 

Poughkeepsie 

Hudson ..... 


78,548 
13,944 

6,286 

5,454 
1.1,415 


St. Louis 


Memphis 


Vicksburg 


Catskill 


Natches 


4,434 


Newburg. 


Baton Rouge 


5,347 


Hudson River Towns. 
Add New York 

Total about. . . . 

Distance 


115,647 

750,000 


Mis sis sip p pi Towns : 

With St. Louis 

With Louisville 

Add New Orleans 

Total about 

Distance 


100.160 

85.494 
120.000 


860,000 


150 miles 


220.000 


1,400 m's 



The Western region, including these as its principal towns, 
sends sixteen senators to Congress. The Eastern towns toge- 
ther send noi one ; form, that is, less than half the population 
of one state. Is not the noise made within the Republic also 
in inverse proportion ? 

Who would not rather own his ten acres on the Hudson than 
the two hundred or five hundred considered of equal value on 
the Mississippi? 

We had few opportunities of going on shore at our many 
landings. Carrying a large supply of coal out of the Ohio, it 



42 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

was only on the last day or two that we made long stops for 
wood. Twice we stopped at cotton plantations. On both, the 
hands were at work picking. One, in Mississippi, where we had 
time to visit the negro quarters, we found to be an outlying 
plantation without a residence. There were a dozen or twenty 
cheap white-washed board cottages, in a long straight row, with- 
out windows, raised three feet from the ground upon log stilts. 
Each served for two families, having a common central chimney 
and one entrance. At the door of some were bits of log as a 
step, at many nothing at all. In the centre, the overseer's cot- 
tage, larger than the rest, and planted in a garden. About the 
others all was bare or dirty uninclosed space. In one of the 
cottages was an old woman cooking the dinner of mush and 
bacon. She directed us to the field, where we found all the 
women at work, picking. The men were getting wood from the 
swamp. The picking went on with a rapid and sullen motion, 
one gang carrying the cotton to the gin-house in huge baskets. 
All wore tight Scotch bonnets. The cotton plants, seven feet 
high, stood eighteen inches apart in rows six feet apart. 

Near Fort Adams we noticed tomato and melon vines still 
untouched by frost. And there we heard with reluctant ears 
that yellow fever was lingering, and that the proprietor of an ad- 
joining plantation had died the night before. The number of 
victims in New Orleans had been terrible during the summer, 
and though the city was now reported safe, it was not without a 
sense of relief that we shivered in our berths through the night 
before our arrival, and saw, at daylight, by the ice on our decks, 
that the frost long prayed for had come with us, as we swept to 
the centre of the thronged crescent that had been for days our 
half-dreaded goal. 



CHAP. II. 

ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 

ROUTES INTO TEXAS. 

Texas has but two avenues of approach — the Gulf and Eecl 
Kiver. Travelers for the Gulf counties and the West enter by 
the sea, for all other parts of Texas, by the river. The roads 
leading into the state through Louisiana, south of Natchitoches, 
are scarcely used, except by residents along them and herdsmen 
bringing cattle to the New Orleans market. The ferries across 
the numerous rivers and bayous are so costly and ill tended, the 
roads so wet and bad, and the distance from steam-conveyance 
to any vigorous part of the state so very great, that the current 
is entirely diverted from this region. 

The travel by Eed Kiver has three centres, Natchitoches, 
Shrieveport, and Fulton. Immigrants enter now chiefly by the 
two last. To Shrieveport come the wagons from Alabama and 
Mississippi, to Fulton those from Arkansas and Tennessee. 

The Gulf steamers touch at but two ports, Galveston and In- 
dianola; and as cotton and all produce, on its way out to the- 
world, must pass through the same points, these five places may 
be strictly called the five gates of Texas. 

For our purposes Natchitoches was deemed the best rendez- 
vous, and there, on the 15th December, we were to join our 
friend B., a volunteer companion. 



44 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ALEXANDRIA. RED RIVER. 

Leaving New Orleans by steamboat at dusk, we entered Eed 
River at dinner-time next day, and the second morning reached 
Alexandria. At low water there are here falls, which prevent 
further navigation. For the transfer of our passengers and 
freight we were detained all day, with the usual lies about time. 
The village is every bit a Southern one — all the houses being one 
story in height, and having an open verandah before them, like 
the English towns in the West Indies. It contains, usually, 
about 1,000 inhabitants, but this summer had been entirely de- 
populated by the yellow fever. Of 300 who remained, 120, we 
were told, died. Most of the runaway citizens had returned, 
when we passed, though the last case of fever was still in uncer- 
tain progress. 

Passing the rapids on our way to the boat above, we saw the 
explosion of the first of M. Maillefert's rock blasts under water. 
His undertaking, since, if I am not misinformed, successfully 
carried out, was to open a navigable passage through the rocks 
that form the rapids. The jet of water shot suddenly high* in 
air was very beautiful. The boat above, when reached, we found 
the most diminutive specimen we had met with. In her saloon 
were but twelve berths, and, as there were some forty or fifty of 
us, it may be imagined we spent an unenviable night. The table 
was most barbarous in quality and even totally insufficient in 
quantity. We were right glad, the following afternoon, to make 
our escape at Grand Ecore, a village of eight or ten houses upon 
the blufT where the river divides, and, at this stage of water, the 
port of Natchitoches. The old channel was now quite dry. 
Three or four miles' drive along it was necessary to take us to 
the town. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 45 

OUR MOUNT. 

We spent several days in Natchitoches purchasing horses and 
completing the preparations for our vagrant life in Texas. Finding 
little that was eligible in the horse-market, and hoping to do bet- 
ter further on, B. left us for San Augustine, by public conveyance, 
with our combined plunder. After patient trials we contented 
ourselves with two animals, that proved a capital choice. I beg 
to make the reader acquainted. 

" Mr. Brown," our mule ; a stout, dun-colored, short-legged, 
cheerful son of a donkey, but himself very much of a gentleman. 
We could not have done better. Having decided that a pack 
mule would be the most free and easy way of carrying our impe- 
diments, we selected " Mr. B." from a Missouri drove passing 
through the town, and appointed him to that office. Eeceiving 
his first ration simultaneously with the notice of his appointment, 
he manifested much satisfaction, and from first to last, until his 
honorable discharge, we had mutually no serious occasion for 
any other feeling. He was endowed with the hereditary bigotry 
of 'his race, but while in our service was always, if not by hook 
then by crook, amenable to reason. When gentle persuasives 
failed, those of a higher potency were exhibited, and always with 
effect. Though subjected sometimes to real neglect, and some- 
times even to contemptuous expressions (for which, I trust, this, 
should it meet his eye, may be considered a cordial apology), he 
was never heard to give utterance to a complaint or vent to an 
oath. He traveled with us some two thousand rough miles, 
kept well up, in spite of the brevity of his legs, with the rest, 
never winced at any load we had the heart to put upon him, 
came in fresh and active at the end, and, finally, sold for 
as much as we gave for him. A saddle, saddle-bags, and the 



46 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

doctor, were temporarily put upon his back until the pack was 
overtaken. 

F. chose a sturdy but gay little roan " Creole pony," who also 
proved to have all the virtues of his class. These ponies are a 
tough, active race, descended and deteriorated from good Spanish 
and Norman blood, running at large almost wild upon the 
prairies of Southwestern Louisiana. Our little individual had 
been the property of a physician now dead of fever, and we found 
him an animal of excellent temper and endurance, full of boyish 
life and eagerness, warm in his friendships with man and beast, 
intelligent, playful, and courageous. Once on friendly terms 
with such a comrade, he is like an old family negro, you are 
loth and half-ashamed to offer him for sale at last, and little 
" Nack," as he was called, endeared himself to all of us to that 
degree, that tears stood in our eyes, as well as his, when we were 
forced to part. 

A RED RIVER PLANTATION. 

Thus mounted, we made one mild day of our stay at Natchi- 
toches, an experimental trip of some ten or fifteen miles out and 
back, at the invitation of a hospitable planter, whose acquaint- 
ance we had made at the hotel. We started in good season, but 
weife not long in losing our way and getting upon obscure roads 
through the woods. The planter's residence we did not find, but 
our day's experience is worth a note. 

We rode on from ten o'clock till three, without seeing a house, 
except a deserted cabin, or meeting a human being. We then 
came upon a ferry across a small stream or " bayou," near 
which was a collection of cabins. We asked the old negro who 
tended the ferry if we could get something to eat anywhere in 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 47 

the neighborhood. He replied that his master sometimes took 
in travelers, and we had better call and try if the mistress 
wouldn't let us have some dinner. 

The house was a small square log cabin, with a broad open 
shed or piazza in front, and a chimney, made of sticks and mud, 
leaning against one end. A smaller detached cabin, twenty feet 
in the rear, was used for a kitchen. A cistern under a roof, and 
collecting water from three roofs, stood between. The water 
from the bayou was not fit to drink, nor is the water of the Ked 
Kiver, or of any springs in this region. The people depend en- 
tirely on cisterns for drinking water. It's very little white folks 
need, however — milk, claret, and whisky being the more common 
beverages. 

About the house was a large yard, in which were two or three 
China trees, and two splendid evergreen Cherokee roses ; half a 
dozen hounds ; several negro babies ; turkeys and chickens, and 
a pet sow, teaching a fine litter of pigs how to root and wallow. 
Three hundred yards from the house was a gin-house and stable, 
and in the interval between were two rows of comfortable negro 
cabins. Between the house and the cabins was a large post, on 
which was a bell to call the negroes. A rack for fastening horses 
stood near it. On the bell-post and on each of the rack- 
posts were nailed the antlers of a buck, as well as on a large oak- 
tree near by. On the logs of the kitchen a fresh deer-skin was 
drying. On the railing of the piazza lay a Mexican saddle with 
immense wooden stirrups. The house had but one door and no 
window, nor was there a pane of glass on the plantation. 

Entering the house, we found it to contain but a single room, 
about twenty feet by sixteen. Of this space one quarter was oc- 
cupied by a bed — a great four-poster, with the curtains open, 



4S A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

made up in the French style, with a strong furniture-calico day- 
coverlid. A smaller camp bed stood beside it. These two ar- 
ticles of furniture nearly filled the house on one side the door. 
At the other end was a great log fire-place, with a fine fire. The 
outer door was left constantly open to admit the light. On one 
side the fire, next the door, was a table ; a kind of dresser, with 
crockery, and a bureau stood on the other side, and there were 
two deer-skin seated chairs and one (Connecticut made) rocking- 
chair. 

A bold-faced, but otherwise good enough-looking woman, of 
a youngish middle-age, was ironing a shirt on the table. We 
stated our circumstances, and asked if we could get some dinner 
from her. She reckoned we could, she said, if we'd wait till she 
was done ironing. So we waited, taking seats by the fire, and 
examining the literature and knick-knacks on the mantel-piece. 
These consisted of three Natchitoches Chronicles, a Patent Office 
Agricultural Eeport, Christie's Galvanic Almanac, a Bible, The 
Pirate of the Gulf, a powder-horn, the sheath of a bowie-knife, a 
whip-lash, and a tobacco-pipe. 

Three of the hounds, a negro child, and a white child, had 
followed us to the door of the cabin, three chickens had entered 
before us, a cat and kittens were asleep in the corner of the fire- 
place. By the time we had finished reading the queer advertise- 
ments in French of runaway negroes in the Chronicle, two of the 
hounds and the black child had retired, and a tan-colored hound, 
very lean, and badly crippled in one leg, had entered and stood 
asking permission with his tail to come to the fire-place. The 
white child, a frowzy girl of ten, came towards us. I turned 
and asked her name. She knitted her brows, but made no 
verbal reply. I turned my chair towards her, and asked her 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 49 

to come to me. She hung her head for an instant, then 
turned, ran to the hound and struck him a hard blow in the 
chops. The hound quailed. She struck him again, and he 
turned half around, then she began with her feet, and kicked 
him out, taking herself after him. 

At length the woman finished her ironing, and went to the 
kitchen, whence quickly returning, she placed upon the table a 
plate of cold, salt, fat pork ; a cup of what to both eye and 
tongue seemed lard, but which she termed butter ; a plate of very 
stale, dry, flaky, micaceous corn-bread ; a jug of molasses, and 
a pitcher of milk. 

" Well, now it's ready, if you'll eat it," she said, turning to 
us. " Best we've got. Sit up. Take some butter ;" and she 
sat down in the rocker at one end of the table. We took seats 
at the other end. 

" Jupiter ! what's the matter with this child f A little white 
child that had crawled up into the gallery, and now to my side 
— flushed face, and wheezing like a high-pressure steamboat. 

" Got the croup, I reckon," answered the woman. " Take 
some 'lasses." 

The child crawled into the room. With the aid of a hand it 
stood up and walked round to its mother. 

" How long has it been going on that way?" asked we. 

" Well, it's been going on some days, now, and keeps getting 
worse. 'Twas right bad last night, in the night. I reckoned I 
should lose it, one spell." 

We were quite faint with hunger when we rode up, but didn't 
eat much of the corn- cake and pork. The woman and the high- 
pressure child sat still and watched us, and we sat still and did 

our best, making much of the milk. 
3 



50 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

"Have you had a physician to see that child?" asked the doc- 
tor, drawing back his chair. 

She had not. 

" Will you come to me, my dear?" 

The child came to him, he felt its pulse and patted its hot 
forehead, looked down its throat, and leaned his ear on its chest. 

" Are you a doctor, sir?" 

" Yes, madam." 

" Got some fever, hasn't it ?" 

" Yes." 

" Not near so much as't had last night." 

" Have you done anything for it V 9 

" Well, there was a gentleman here ; he told me sweet ile and 
sugar would be good for it, and I gave it a good deal of that : 
made it sick, it did. I thought, perhaps, that would do it good." 

" Yes. You have had something like this in your family 
before, haven't you ? You don't seem much alarmed." 

" Oh yes, sir; that ar one (pointing to the frowzy girl, whose 
name was Angelina) had it two or three times — onst most as 
bad as this. All my children have had it. Is she bad, doctor !" 

" Yes. I should say this was a very serious thing." 

" Have you any medicine in the house ?" he asked, after the 
woman had returned from a journey to the kitchen. She open- 
ed a drawer of the bureau, half full of patent medicines and 
some common drugs. " There's a whole heap o' truck in thar. 
I don't know what it all is. Whatever you want, just help your- 
self. I can't read writin ; you must pick it out." 

Such as were available were taken out and given to the mother, 
with directions about administering them, which she promised to 
obey. " But the first and most important thing for you to do is 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 51 

to shut the door and make up the fire, and put the child to bed 
and try to keep this wind off her." 

" Lord ! sir, you can't keep her in bed — she's too wild." 

" Well, you must put some more clothes on her. Wrap her up, 
and try to keep her w 7 arm. The very best thing you can do for her 
is to give her a warm. bath. Have you not got a washing tub ?" 

" Oh ! yes, sir, I can do that. She'll go to bed pretty early 
— she's used to going between sundown and dark." 

" Well, give her the warm bath, then, and if she get worse 
send for a physician immediately. You must be very careful of 
her, madam." 

We walked to the stable, and as the horses had not finished 
eating their corn, I lounged about the quarters, and talked with 
the negro. 

There was not a single soul in the quarters or in sight of the 
house except ourselves, the woman and her children, and the old 
negro. The negro women must have taken their sucklings with 
them, if they had any, to the field where they were at work. 

The old man said they had " ten or eleven field hands, such 
as they was," and his master would sell sixty to seventy bags of 
cotton: besides which they made all the corn and pork they 
wanted, and something over, and raised some cattle. 

Sixty bales of cotton would be worth three thousand dollars. 
Last year, the negro said, their crop was larger still. The 
expenses of the family (not very heavy, if our dinner was an in- 
dication) and of the negroes would probably be defrayed by 
the swine and corn crop, and the profits should have been, in 
two years, full six thousand dollars. What do people living in 
this style do with so much money ? They buy more negroes and 
enlarge their plantations. 



52 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

But it must be remembered that they were having the first use 
of a very fine alluvial soil, and were subject to floods and fevers. 
The yellow fever or cholera another year might kill half their 
negroes, or a flood of the Eed Eiver (such as occurred August, 
1849, and October, 1851) destroy their whole crop, and so use 
up several years' profits. 

A slate hung in the piazza, with the names of all the cotton- 
pickers, and the quantity picked the last picking day by each, thus : 
Gorge, 152 ; David, 130 ; Polly, 98; Hanna, 96 ; Little Gorge, 
52, etc. The whole number of hands mentioned on the slate 
was fourteen. Probably there were over twenty slaves, big and 
little, on the plantation. 

When our horses were ready, we paid the negro for taking 
care of them, and I went in and asked the woman what I might 
pay her for what we had eaten. 

" What !" she asked, looking in my face as if angry. 

I feared she was offended by my offering money for her hospi- 
tality, and put the question again as delicately as I could. She 
continued her sullen gaze at me for a moment, and then answer- 
ed as if the words had been bullied out of her by a Tombs 
lawyer, 

" Dollar, I reckon." 

" What !" thought I, but handed her the silver. 

Eiding out at the bars let down for us by the old negro, we 
wondered if the child would be living twenty-four hours later, 
and if it survived, what its moral chances were. Poor, we 
thought. Five miles from a neighbor; ten, probably, from a 
Louisiana* school ; hound-pups and negroes for playmates. 

* The State Superintendent lately recommended that two out of three of the 
Directors of Common Schools in Louisiana should be required to know how 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 53 

We found our way back to the town only late in the evening. 
We had ridden most of the day over heavily-timbered, nearly 
flat, rich bottom land. It is of very great fertility ; but, being 
subject to overflow, is not very attractive in spite of its prox- 
imity to a market. 

THE ROAD BEFORE US. 

Natchitoches was the terminus of the old Spanish trail from 
Monterey, Chihuahua, and Sante Fe, by San Antonio, to the 
States, and, as such, had a considerable military and commer- 
cial importance. This trail we were to follow, with slight devia- 
tions to the Bio Grande. 

We set out with some difficulty, amusing rather to by-stand- 
ers than to ourselves, owing to the numerous holds upon civili- 
zation we were reluctant to let go. Having bequeathed to the 
servants everything we thought we could spare to lighten our 
load, our saddles were still so encumbered that we could scarcely 
find room for the most important articles, viz., ourselves. Be- 
sides the bursting saddle-bags, both pommel and cantle, rising 
high in Mexican fashion, were hung with blankets, overcoats, am- 
munition-pouches, lunch-bags, et cetera. Once astride in all this 
lumber it was no small game that was inducement to dismount, 
and as to a free trot or a canter, with loose guns hammering our 
thighs, and everything else our knees and the horses flanks, it 
was not to be thought of except in dire extremity. However, a 
few days' experience made all right, and by means of a leather 
holder, attaching the gun closely to the pommel, and by tight 
packing and buckling generally, we shortly found ourselves very 

to read and write ; and mentioned that in one parish, instead of the signature, 
the mark of twelve different directors was affixed to a teacher's certificate. 



54 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

good Texans in the matter of equestrianism, and had the full 
freedom of the road and the prairie. But steady horseback tra- 
vel can by no means be prosecuted in the rapid and lively style 
of a morning ride. Consideration for your horse as well as for 
yourself soon reduces it to a jogging caravan life, which, unless 
in capital company or stimulating scenery, gets, like other uni- 
form modes of travel, laborious and dull. 

A word as to the saddles for such a trip. They should be 
chosen to fit the horse rather than the rider, consequently should 
be bought after the horse, and of course in Texas. We had had 
varying advice about taking English or Mexican saddles, but the 
Texan, a cross of the two, is far the best for the purpose. As 
used in Texas, it is frequently an open tree, with no covering 
whatever, two wooden pads lying flat upon the muscles of the 
back, and fitting them as closely as possible, joined by an upright 
back and high pommel, leaving an open space of free air over 
the spine. A blanket, smoothly folded, is always placed under 
it in lieu of pad, which serves in camp for a manger, when corn 
is to be had, and for a wrap at night. Before and behind are 
long deer-skin thongs, far better than straps and buckles. An 
extra blanket hangs by these, swinging loose like a saddle-cloth. 
With a well-fitting saddle of this kind, galls can almost always 
be escaped, especially if pains be taken to uncover, wash, and 
rub dry the heated back at every opportunity. 

It was with great satisfaction that we found ourselves of 
a crisp December morning fairly en route, with all preliminaries, 
from steamboats to buckles, at last, accomplished. 

Five minutes' ride took us deep into the pines. Natchitoches, 
and with it all the tumult and bother of social civilization, had 
disappeared. Under the pines and beyond them was a new, calm, 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 55 

free life, upon which we entered with a glow of enthusiasm, 
which, however, hardly sufficed to light up a whole day of pine 
shadow, and many times afterwards glimmered very dull over 
days on days of cold corn-bread and cheerless winter prairies. 

PINEY WOOD TRAVEL. 

For two days, as far as the boundary of Texas, we rode 
through these pines over a sandy surface, having little rise and 
fall, watered here and there by small creeks and ponds, within 
reach of whose overflow, present or past, stand deciduous trees, 
such as, principally, oaks and cotton- woods, in a firmer and 
richer soil. "Wherever the road crosses or approaches these 
spots, there is or has been usually a plantation. 

The road could hardly be called a road. It was only a way 
where people had passed along before. Each man had taken 
such a path as suited him, turning aside to avoid, on high ground, 
the sand, on low ground, the mud. We chose, generally, the 
untrodden elastic pavement of pine leaves, at a little distance 
from the main track. 

EMIGRANT TRAINS. 

We overtook, several times in the course of each day, the 
slow emigrant trains, for which this road, though less frequented 
than years ago, is still a chief thoroughfare. Inexorable destiny 
it seems that drags or drives on, always Westward, these toil- 
worn people. Several families were frequently moving together, 
coming from the same district, or chance met and joined, for 
company, on the long road from Alabama, Georgia, or the Caro- 
linas. Before you come upon them you hear, ringing through 
the woods, the fierce cries and blows with which they urge on 
their jaded cattle. Then the stragglers appear, lean dogs or 



56 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

fainting negroes, ragged and spiritless. An old granny, hauling 
on, by the hand, a weak boy — too old to ride and too young to 
keep up. An old man, heavily loaded, with a rifle. Then the 
white covers of the wagons, jerking up and down as they mount 
over a root or plunge into a rut, disappearing, one after another, 
where the road descends. Then the active and cheery prime negroes, 
not yet exhausted, with a joke and a suggestion about tobacco. 
Then the black pickininnies, staring, in a confused heap, out at 
the back of the wagon, more and more of their eyes to be made 
out among the table legs and bedding as you get near ; behind 
them, further in, the old people and young mothers, whose turn 
it is to ride. As you get by, the white mother and babies, and 
the tall, frequently ill-humored master, on horseback, or walking 
with his gun, urging up the black driver and his oxen. As a 
scout ahead is a brother, or an intelligent slave, with the best 
gun, on the look-out for a deer or a turkey. We passed in the 
day perhaps one hundred persons attached to these trains, prob- 
ably an unusual number ; but the immigration this year had 
been retarded and condensed by the fear of yellow fever, the last 
case of which, at Natchitoches, had indeed begun only the night 
before our arrival. Our chances of danger were considered small, 
however, as the hard frosts had already come. One of these 
trains was made up of three large wagons, loaded with furniture, 
babies, and invalids, two or three light wagons, and a gang of 
twenty able field hands. They travel ten or fifteen miles a day, 
stopping wherever night overtakes them. The masters are plainly 
dressed, often in home-spun, keeping their eyes about them, 
noticing the soil, sometimes making a remark on the crops by 
the roadside ; but, generally, dogged, surly, and silent. The 
women are silent, too, frequently walking, to relieve the teams, 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 57 

and weary, haggard, mud be-draggled, forlorn, and disconsolate, 
yet hopeful and careful. The negroes, mud-incrusted, wrapped 
in old blankets or gunny-bags, suffering from cold, plod on, aim- 
less, hopeless, thoughtless, more indifferent than the oxen to all 
about them. 

A YELLOW GENTLEMAN. 

At noon, when we had stopped in the woods for a lunch, at a 
roadside fire, left well piled for the next comer, as is the pleasant 
custom, by some one in advance, a handsome mulatto young man 
rode up, and bowing, joined us at this open hearth. He proved 
a pleasant fellow, genial and quite intelligent. He accepted a 
share of our eatables, and told us he had been sent back to look 
for a lost dog. " His master, and a little boy, and two nigger 
women, and another yellow fellow, were on ahead." "When we 
had finished, he said — " Perhaps youm (you and he) '11 wait a 
spell longer." 

"Yes." 

" Well, then, I'll go along, my master '11 be looking for me," 
and he rode off, lifting his hat like a Parisian. 

ROAD TALK. 

Stopping at a cabin for a few minutes, I was left alone. As I 
rode out a man on the road joined me, with 
" How d'ye do V 9 
" Good morning." 
" Going into Texas V 
" Yes. To Austin." . 
" Yes. Come from Alabama V 9 
" No : from New York." 
« Come through Nakitosh V ' 



58 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Yes." 

" Get that horse in Natchitoches 1 ?" 
"Yes." 

" What did ye have to give for him?" 
" Sixty dollars." 

" What do ye reckon I had to give for this one V s 
" I haven't the least idea. How far is it to Fort Jesup?" 
" You going to Fort Jesup to-night?" 
" I expect to." 

" You'll have to ride a dam smart hickory." 
"How far is it?" 

"Fourteen miles, and long ones. That's a smart little horse. 
Mine can't trot so fast." 

" I see he can't." (He was on a canter.) " But I am a little 
in haste." 

" I got a right smart saddle and bridle 'long o' this one. 
What do ye think I gin for him?" 
" I can't imagine." 

" Well, I gin $20, saddle and bridle, too, less 'n two months 
ago." 

" What's the matter with him ?" 

" Damnation laziness, that's what's the matter with him. 
Can't make him go, only by spurring him all the time. Can't 
make him trot by no matter of whippin'; you take his skin off 
he won't trot. Do you ever drink anything?" 
" Not very often." 
" Will you drink now ?" 
" No, I thank you." 

" What kind of a piece is that in that case ?" 
" A short rifle." ' 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 59 

"Will she shoot good?" 

" Yes." 

" Well, you're too much for me." 

"What?" 

" You're too much for me, you are. I can't keep along with 
you no further. Good-by." 

After a while we came up with our noon friend, the yellow boy. 
" Well, you've overtook me again," said he. "Do you ever 
drink ? Take some whisky," offering the jug. 

LAND LOCATING. 

His master, riding near, was from Mississippi, going to " locate 
land" in Texas, and had no particular point in view. Most emi- 
grants make a first excursion alone, to look at the country, and 
having selected a spot to suit them return and bring out their fa- 
milies the following season. The country is so little settled, that 
it is not difficult to find land in desirable neighborhoods., the title 
to which is still vested in the state, and immigrants usually pur- 
chase "land warrants," or "head rights," giving a title to a cer- 
tain number of acres of the public domain, and choose, i. e., 
" locate," the particular spot for themselves. 

COTTON HAULING. 

We met, in course of the day, numerous cotton wagons, two 
or three sometimes together, drawn by three or four pair of mules 
or oxen, going slowly on toward Natchitoches or Grand Ecore, 
each managed by its negro driver. The load is commonly five 
bales (of 400 pounds each), and the cotton comes in this tedious 
way, over execrable roads, distances of 100 and even 150 miles. 
It is usually hauled from the eastern tier of Texan counties to 



60 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the Sabine ; but this year there had been no rise of water in the 
rivers, and from all this region it must be carried to Eed Eiver. 
The distance from the Sabine is here about fifty miles, and the 
cost of this transportation about one cent a pound; the freight 
from Grand Ecore to New Orleans from one to one and a quarter 
cents. If hauled 150 miles in this way, as we were told, the pro- 
fit remaining, after paying the charges of transportation and 
commission, all amounting to about five cents, must be exceed- 
ingly small in ordinary years. 

At night we met three or four of these teams half-mired in a 
swamp, distant some quarter of a mile one from another, and 
cheering themselves in the dark with prolonged and musical " yo- 
hoi's," sent ringing through the woods. We got through this 
with considerable perplexity ourselves, and were very glad to see 
the light of the cabin where we had been recommended to stop. 

THE ENTERTAINMENT FOR MAN AND BEAST. 

This was " Mrs. Stokers'," about half way to the Sabine. 
We were received cordially, every house here expecting to do inn- 
duty, but were allowed to strip and take care of our own horses, 
the people by no means expecting to do landlord's duty, but tak- 
ing guests on sufferance. The house was a double log cabin — 
two log erections, that is, joined by one long roof, leaving an 
open space between. A gallery, extending across the whole front, 
serves for a pleasant sitting-room in summer, and for a toilet- 
room at all seasons. A bright fire was very welcome. Supper, 
consisting of pork, fresh and salt, cold corn-bread, and boiled 
sweet potatoes, was served in a little lean-to behind the house. 
After disposing of this we were shown to our room, the other 
cabin, where we whiled away our evening, studying, by the light 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 61 

of the great fire, a book of bear stories, and conversing with the 
young man of the family, and a third guest. The room was open 
to the rafters, and had been built up only as high as the top of 
the door upon the gallery side, leaving a huge open triangle to 
the roof, through which the wind rushed at us with a fierce swoop, 
both while we were sitting at the fire and after we retreated to bed. 
Owing to this we slept little, and having had a salt supper, lay 
very thirsty upon the deep feather bed. About four o'clock an 
old negro came in to light the fire. Asking him for water, we 
heard him breaking the ice for it outside. When we washed in 
the piazza the water was thick with frost, crusty, and half inclined 
not to be used as a fluid at all. 

After a breakfast, similar in all respects to the supper, we sad- 
dled and rode on again. The horses had had a dozen ears of 
corn, night and morning, with an allowance of fodder (maize 
leaves). For this the charge was $1 25 each person. This is a 
fair sample of roadside stopping-places in Western Louisiana and 
Texas. The meals are absolutely invariable, save that fresh pork 
and sweet potatoes are frequently wanting. There is always, 
too, the black decoction of the South called coffee, than which it 
is often difficult to imagine any beverage more revolting. The 
bread is made of corn-meal, stirred with water and salt, and 
baked in a kettle covered with coals. The corn for breakfast is 
frequently unhusked at sunrise. A negro, whose business it is, 
shells and grinds it in a hand-mill for the cook. Should there 
be any of the loaf left after breakfast, it is given to the traveler, 
if he wish, with a bit of pork, for a noon-" snack," with no far- 
ther charge. He is conscious, though, in that case, that he is 
robbing the hounds, always eagerly waiting, and should none re- 
main, none can be had without a new resort to the crib. Wheat 



62 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

bread, if I am not mistaken, we met with but twice, out of Aus- 
tin, in our whole journey across the state. 

WORN-OUT LAND. 

The country was very similar to that passed over the day be- 
fore, with perhaps rather more of the cultivable loam. A good 
part of the land had, at some time, been cleared, but much was 
already turned over to the " old-field pines," some of them even 
fifteen years or more. In fact, a larger area had been abandoned, 
we thought, than remained under cultivation. With the land 
many cabins have, of course, also been deserted, giving the road 
a desolate air. If you ask, where are the people that once occu- 
pied these, the universal reply is, " gone to Texas." 

THE PEOPLE. 

The plantations occur, perhaps, at an average distance of three 
or four miles. Most of the remaining inhabitants live chiefly, to 
appearances, by fleecing emigrants. Every shanty sells spirits 
and takes in travelers. Every plantation has its sign, offering 
provender for sale, generally curiously worded or spelled, as 
" Corn Heare." We passed through but one village, which con- 
sisted of six dwellings. The families obtained their livelihood by 
the following occupations : one by shoeing the horses of emi- 
grants ; one by repairing the wheels of their wagons ; one by 
selling them groceries. The smallest cabin contained a physician. 
It was not larger than a good-sized medicine chest, but had the 
biggest sign. The others advertised " corn and fodder." The 
prices charged for any article sold or service performed were enor- 
mous ; full one hundred per cent, over those of New Orleans. 

We took our pork and corn-bread, at noon, in the house of an 
I 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 63 

old gentleman of a pious fox-hunting turn. He was so old a 
settler, he said, as to have moved out of Texas at the time it 
was ceded to Spain, and he was still sore on the point, as if he 
had been swindled by some party in the transaction. His table 
was richly supplied with Methodist publications, and he gave us 
a very pressing invitation to stop and have a hunt. 

In course of the day we passed a small sugar apparatus — a 
battery of four kettles. We were told that it was not uncommon 
for plantations about here to grow enough sugar for home-use. 

SPANISH REMAINS. 

We met Spaniards once or twice on the road, and the popula- 
tion of this district is thought to be one half of Spanish origin. 
They have no houses on the road, however, but live in little 
hamlets in the forest, or in cabins contiguous to each other, 
about a pond. They make no progress in acquiring capital of 
their own, but engage in hunting and fishing, or in herding cat- 
tle for larger proprietors of the land. For this business they 
seem to have an hereditary adaptation, far excelling negroes of 
equal experience. 

THE PROGRESS OF DILAPIDATION. 

The number of cattle raised here is now comparatively small, 
most of the old herd proprietors having moved on to pastures new 
in Western Texas. The cane, which is a natural growth of most 
good soils at the South, is killed if closely fed upon. The blue- 
joint grass (not the blue-grass of Kentucky) takes its place, and 
is also indigenous upon a poorer class of soils in this region. 
This is also good food for cattle, but is killed in turn if closely 
pastured. The ground then becomes bare or covered with 



64 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

shrubs, and the " range" is destroyed. The better class of 
soils here bear tolerable crops of cotton, but are by no means of 
value equal to the Bed Kiver bottoms or the new soils of any 
part of Texas. The country is, therefore, here in similar condi- 
tion to that of the Eastern Slave States. The improvements 
which the inhabitants have succeeded in making in the way 
of clearing the forest, fencing and tilling the land, building 
dwellings, barns, and machinery, making roads and bridges, and 
introducing the institutions of civilization, not compensating in 
value the deterioration in the productiveness of the soil. The 
exhausted land reverts to wilderness. 

OUR OLD FRONTIER. 

Shortly after noon rain began to fall from the chilly clouds 
that had been threatening us, and sleet and snow were soon 
driving in our faces. Our animals were disposed to flinch, but 
we were disposed to sleep in Texas, and pushed on across 
the Sabine. We found use for all our wraps, and when we 
reached the ferry-house our Mackintoshes were like a coat of 
mail with the stiff ice, and trees and fields were covered. In 
the broad river bottom we noticed many aquatic birds, and the 
browsing line under the dense mass of trees was almost as clean 
cut as that of Bushy Park. The river, at its low stage, was 
only three or four rods across. The old negro who ferried 
us over, told us he had taken many a man to" the other side, 
before annexation, who had ridden his horse hard to get beyond 
the jurisdiction of the states. 

THE FIRST HOUSE IN TEXAS. 

If we were unfortunate in this stormy entrance into Texas, we 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 65 

were very fortunate in the good quarters we lighted upon. The 
ferry has long been known as Gaines's ferry, but is now the pro- 
perty of Mr. Strather, an adjacent planter, originally from Mis- 
sissippi, but a settler of long standing. His log-house had two 
stories, and being the first we had met having glass windows, 
and the second, I think, with any windows at all, takes high 
rank for comfort on the road. At supper we had capital 
mallard-ducks from the river, as well as the usual Texan diet. 

We were detained by the severity of the weather during the 
following day, and were well entertained with huntsman's stories 
of snakes, game, and crack shots. Mr. S. himself is the best 
shot in the county. A rival, who had once a match against him 
for two thousand dollars, called the day before the trial, and 
paid five hundred dollars to withdraw. He brought out his rifle 
for us, and placed a bullet, at one hundred and twenty yards, 
plump in the spot agreed upon. His piece is an old Kentucky 
rifle, weighing fourteen pounds, barrel forty-four inches in 
length, and throwing a ball weighing forty-four to the pound. 

A guest, who came in, helped us to pass the day by exciting 
our anticipations of the West, and by his free and good advice. 
He confirmed stories -we had heard of the danger to slavery 
in the West by the fraternizing of the blacks with the Mexicans. 
They helped them in all their bad habits, married them, stole a 
living from them, and ran them off every day to Mexico. This 
man had driven stages or herded cattle in every state of the 
Union, and had a notion that he liked the people and the state 
of Alabama better than any other. A man would get on faster, 
he thought, in Iowa, than anywhere else. He had been stage- 
driver in Illinois during the cold winter of 1851-2, and had 
driven a whole day when the mercury was at its furthest below 



66 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

zero, but had never suffered so much from cold as on his present 
trip, during a norther on a Western prairie. He was now 
returning from Alexandria, where he had taken a small drove of 
horses. He cautioned us, in traveling, always to see our horses 
fed with our own eyes, and to hang around them till they 
had made sure of a tolerable allowance, and never to leave any- 
thing portable within sight of a negro. A stray blanket was a 
sure loss. 

Mr. S. has two plantations, both on upland, but one under 
the care of an overseer, some miles from the river. The soil he 
considers excellent. He averaged, last year, seven and a half 
bales to the hand ; this year, four and a half bales. The usual 
crop of corn here is thirty bushels (shelled) to the acre. 

Hearing him curse the neighboring poor people for stealing 
hogs, we inquired if thieves were as troublesome here as in the 
older countries. " If there ever were any hog- thieves anywhere/ ' 
said he, " it's here." In fact, no slave country, new or old, is 
free from this exasperating pest of poor whites. In his neigh- 
borhood were several who ostensibly had a little patch of land 
to attend to, but who really, he said, derived their whole lazy 
subsistence from their richer neighbors' hog droves. 

SLAVE LIFE. 

The negro -quarters here, scattered irregularly about the 
house, were of the worst description, though as good as local 
custom requires. They are but a rough inclosure of logs, ten 
feet square, without windows, covered by slabs of hewn w T ood 
four feet long. The great chinks are stopped with whatever has 
come to hand — a wad of cotton here, and a corn-shuck there. 
The suffering from cold within them in such weather as we ex- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 67 

perienced, must be great. The day before, we bad seen a young 
black girl, of twelve or fourteen years, sitting on a pile of logs 
before a bouse we passed, in a driving sleet, having for her only 
garment a short chemise. It is impossible to say whether such 
shiftlessness was the fault of the master or of the girl. Probably 
of both, and a part of the peculiar southern and southwestern 
system of "get along," till it comes better weather. 

THE RED LAND DISTRICT. 

The storm continuing a third day, we rode through it twenty- 
five miles further to San Augustine. For some distance the 
country remains as in Louisiana. Then the pines gradually dis- 
appear, and a heavy clay soil, stained by an oxide of iron to a 
uniform brick red, begins. It makes most disagreeable roads, 
sticking close, and giving an indelible stain to every article that 
touches it. This tract is known as the Ked Lands of Eastern 
Texas. 

On a plantation not far from the river, we learned they had 
made eight bales to the hand. Mentioning it, afterwards, to a 
man who knew the place, he said they had planted earlier than 
their neighbors, and worked night and day, and he believed 
had lied, besides. They had sent cotton both by Galveston and by 
Grand Ecore, and had found the cost the same, about $8 per 
bale of 500 lbs. 

We called at a plantation offered for sale. It was described 
in the hand-bills as having a fine house. We found it a cabin 
without windows. The proprietor said he had made ten bales to 
the hand, and would sell with all the improvements, a new gin- 
house, press, etc., for $6 per acre. 

The roadside, though free from the gloom of pines, did not 



68 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

cheer up, the number of deserted wrecks of plantations not at 
all diminishing. The occupied cabins were no better than be- 
fore. We had entered our promised land ; but the oil and honey 
of gladness and peace were nowhere visible. The people we met 
were the most sturdily inquisitive I ever saw. Nothing stagger- 
ed them, and we found our account in making a clean breast of 
it as soon as they approached. 

We rode through the shire-town, Milam, without noticing it. 
Its buildings, all told, are six in number. 

We passed several immigrant trains in motion, in spite of the 
weather. Their aspect was truly pitiful. Splashed with a new 
coating of red mud, dripping, and staggering, beating still the 
bones of their long worn-out cattle, they floundered helplessly on. 

SAN AUGUSTINE. 

San Augustine made no very charming impression as we en- 
tered, nor did we find any striking improvement on longer ac- 
quaintance. It is a town of perhaps fifty or sixty houses, and 
half a dozen shops. Most of the last front upon a central 
square acre of neglected mud. The dwellings are clap-boarded, 
and of much higher class than the plantation dwellings. As to 
the people, a resident told us there was but one man in the 
town that was not in the constant habit of getting drunk, and 
that this gentleman relaxed his Puritanic severity during our stay 
in view of the fact that Christmas came but once that year. 

A TEXAN FETE. 

Late on Christmas eve, we were invited to the window by 
our landlady, to see the pleasant local custom of The Christmas 
Serenade. A band of pleasant spirits started from the square, 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 69 

blowing tin horns, and beating tin pans, and visited in succes- 
sion every house in the village, kicking in doors, and pulling 
down fences, until every male member of the family had appear- 
ed, with appropriate instruments, and joined the merry party. 
They then marched to the square, and ended the ceremony with 
a centupled tin row. In this touching commemoration, as stran- 
gers, we were not urged to participate. 

MANNERS. 

A gentleman of the neighborhood, addicted, as we knew, to a 
partiality towards a Eip Van Winkle, tavern-lounging style of 
living, told us he was himself regarded by many of his neigh- 
bors with an evil eye, on account of his " stuck up" deportment, 
and his habit of minding too strictly his own business. He had 
been candidate for Eepresentative, and had, he thought, probably 
been defeated on this ground, as he w r as sure his politics w 7 ere 
right. 

Not far from the village stands an edifice, which, having three 
stories and sashed windows, at once attracted our attention. On 
inquiry, we learned a story, curiously illustrative of Texan and 
human life. It appeared that two universities w r ere chartered 
for San Augustine, the one under the protection of the Method- 
ists, the other of the Presbyterians. * The country being feebly 
settled, the supply of students was short, and great was the con- 
sequent rivalry between the institutions. The neighboring peo- 
ple took sides upon the subject so earnestly, that, one fine day, 
the president of the Presbyterian University w r as shot down in 
the street. After this, both dwindled, and seeing death by starv- 
ation staring them in the face, they made an arrangement by 
which both were taken under charge of the Fraternity of 



70 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Masons. The buildings are now used under the style of " The 
Masonic Institute," the one for boys, the other for girls. The 
boys occupy only their third story, and the two lower stories are 
falling to ludicrous decay — the boarding dropping off, and the 
windows on all sides dashed in. 

The Mexican habitations of which San Augustine was once 
composed, have all disappeared. We could not find even a trace 
of them. 

At San Augustine we rejoined our friend B., who had, in fact, 
arrived but a few minutes before us. He had come on foot nearly 
all the distance from Natchitoches, out of compassion for the poor 
teams that should have dragged him, and had suffered extremes 
of cold and wet dismals. Our friend was a Northern man, but 
an old original Texan settler, ranger, and campaigner ; a trader 
in Central and Northern Mexico ; a volunteer in the Mexican 
war, and, withal, a Californian. A man of such large experience 
and familiarity with practical details in matters we were quite 
unversed in, it was a rare good fortune to fall in with. But we 
were not long in discovering that prejudices creep in with expe- 
rience, and that simple common sense goes a great way, too. 

PACKING THE MULE. 

We had set out intending, should no circumstance prevent, to 
spend near a year in the saddle, partly in Mexico, and a great 
part in Indian country, hundreds of miles from any resources 
but our own. We accordingly provided ourselves, before leav- 
ing home, with the best equipment w r e could devise for the pur- 
pose, and to carry the necessary weight with the most freedom 
we chose a pack mule. 

Few things gave us more pleasure, for more reasons than one, 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 71 

than the complete success of the pack-apparatus we had had the 
hardihood to have made and to bring with us from New York. 
B., when he saw it, was almost convulsed with laughter and con- 
tempt. We should have half Texas hooting at our heels! 
There was no occasion to pay our bill, we should never get out 
of the inn-yard with that concern. A real " aparejo," with a 
Mexican muleteer to put it on, was the only contrivance that 
could be ever used for packing. Our affair, even if it did not 
topple over at the first step, would cut the mule to the bone in 
ten miles slow walk ! During our few days' stay at San Augus- 
tine, we heard so much of this foreboding as to be fairly tired of 
the name of " aparejo," and to have ourselves a considerable 
misgiving as to the result. 

But we had read Ward's account of the Mexican " aparejo," 
and of his substitution for it of the English pack-saddle, and we 
stood firm, insisting that our contraption should have at least a 
fair trial. 

The affair that excited so much amusement and discussion was 
a simple pack-saddle, to which we had attached iron hooks, for a 
couple of wicker hampers. It is composed of two wooden pads 
joined by four straight horns, like those of a saw-horse, riveted 
at the crossings, and projecting above, so as to give a convenient 
hitching place for any stray bit of rope. Along the crotches of 
these horns we laid our tent, made up in a compact roll ; into 
the hampers we stowed our household gods, and, buckling a 
long leather girth over all, there we were. 

On starting, B. entirely refused to take lunch-materials, know- 
ing that we should shortly return to buy a wagon for our ham- 
pers or their contents. But nothing happened. The mule 
walked off with as much unconcern as if he had been trained to 



72 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

carry hampers from his birth. At noon, becoming hungry, we 
stopped at a cabin for dinner, 1 During the meal Mr. Brown ex- 
cited us by lying down and attempting to roll. However, no 
damage was done ; for, rinding a hamper well girthed down on 
whichever side he turned, he became content to sit quietly and 
await our pleasure. 

Dreadful, as night approached, were the anticipations on B.'s 
part, of the inhuman spectacle he was about to show us on re- 
moving the saddle. When the hampers had been lowered he 
fairly groaned as we unbuckled the girths. "We ourselves were 
-not without fear. But not a hair was started. After a roll the 
mule was as gay as a kitten, and the spot heated by the saddle in 
ten minutes could not be found. 

For a day or two it was to-morrow, oh ! to-morrow. But 
when day after day passed, and the mule still continued sound in 
case and in excellent spirits, B., like a gentleman, gave in, and 
acknowledged that it beat all. Still, on the point of the 
" aparejo," he would not yield, maintaining, that though this 
might do well enough for a jaunt, the " aparejo" was the only 
reliable thing for a long pull. Now, the " aparejo" consists, in 
brief, of a leather sack of hay, and five or six fathoms of rope. 
With these tools, the reader may imagine how tedious and tor- 
turous a process is the roping on of the loose boxes or bags that 
contain a traveler's things. 

In short, our saddle and hampers worked admirably, and can, 
in all respects, be recommended for a similar service. 

ADDITIONS TO THE COMPANY. 

We found as much difficulty in obtaining suitable horses in 
San Augustine as at Natchitoches, and were some days in mak- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 73 

ing choice. Finally, B. made purchase of an old gray, afflicted 
with an osseous structure which had long outgrown its hide, but 
otherwise serving well enough for temporary use. Being an ani- 
mal of experience, he knew enough not to waste his remaining 
substance in useless steps, and never budged a leg except under 
positive orders. He answered, however, for a start for a 
"trade," and after a few days was left to ruminate upon the 
prairie, and a spunky young mustang took his place in the cara- 
van. 

A chestnut mare was the last acquisition — & lithe, shapely 
thing, with a keen volatile eye, a fine ear, and open nostril. I 
found no friendship in her face, nor did she ever yield to the last, 
one single smile to my tender advances. Eestless, anxious, 
overdone from the start, her nerves were too large for her dainty 
muscle, and she was quite unfit for steady travel. 

She could out-walk, out-trot, out-run any of her companions, 
at their utmost effort, by three to two, with the most natural 
ease. She never declined any work whatever, but, frequently, all 
consolation, and, what was more annoying, all food. Such 
treatment as travelers could give she felt beneath her, and took 
from the first the position of a high-bred girl who had seen bet- 
ter days. When I suggested, sometimes, a run over the prairie, 
she was off like a hawk at the slightest pressure of the legs, and 
we were flying mad out of sight in an instant. Such sports, 
however, she disdained to enjoy with me, though fairly sobbing 
after them with repressed excitement, turning a flashing eye 
toward mine, as much as to ask, " Is that the creature to carry 
saddle-bags !" 

OUR EXPERIENCE WITH ARMS. 

For arms, expecting to rely much on them for provision as 
4 



74 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

well as defense, we selected a Sharp's rifle, a doable fowling- 
piece, Colt's navy revolvers, and sheathed hunting knives. In 
this we found we had not gone wrong, every expert who inquired 
into the matter highly approving our choice, and our own expe- 
rience for us clinching the matter. The Sharp, in sure hands 
(not ours), threw its ounce ball as exactly, though far deeper, 
into its mark, at one thousand three hundred yards, as a 
Kentucky rifle its small ball at one hundred. For force, we can 
testify to its ball passing through a four-inch white oak fence- 
post ; and for distance, to constantly striking a piece of water a 
mile and a quarter distant, with the ordinary purchased cartridge. 
By the inventor it can be loaded and fired eighteen times in a 
minute ; by us, at a single trial, without practice, nine times. 
Ours was the Government pattern — a short carbine, of light 
weight, and conveniently arranged for horseback use. Its barrel 
had been browned, a box made in the stock, and a ramrod 
added, to which a cleaning brush could be attached. Its cost in 
this shape was forty dollars. We were furnished with moulds 
for both conical and round balls, as when cartridges fail it may 
be loaded at the muzzle with the ramrod, in the ordinary way. 
It was also fitted with Maynard's primer, a self-capping appara- 
tus, which, however, we found so unreliable as to be useless in 
practice. The capsule never failed to fix itself in position, but 
frequently did not explode. Nothing about the' piece during our 
trip gave way or got out of order. 

Two barrels full of buck-shot make a trustier dose, perhaps, 
than any single ball for a squad of Indians, when within range, 
or even in unpracticed hands for wary venison ; but the combi- 
nation of the two with Colt's, makes, I believe, for a traveling 
party, the strongest means of protection yet known. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 75 

Of the Colt's we cannot speak in too high terms. Though 
subjected for six or eight months to rough use, exposed 
to damp grass, and to all the ordinary neglects and accidents of 
camp travel, not once did a ball fail to answer the finger. 
Nothing got out of order, nothing required care ; not once, 
though carried at random, in coat-pocket or belt, or tied thump- 
ing at the pummel, was there an accidental discharge. In short, 
they simply gave us perfect satisfaction, being all they claimed to 
be. Before taking them from home we gave them a trial along- 
side every rival we could hear of, and we had with us an unpa- 
tented imitation, but for practical purposes one Colt we found 
worth a dozen of all others. Such was the testimony of every 
old hunter and ranger we met. There are probably in Texas 
about as many revolvers as male adults, and I doubt if there 
are one hundred in the state of any other make. For ourselves, 
as I said, we found them perfect. After a little practice we could 
very surely chop off a snake's head from the saddle at any reason- 
able distance, and across a fixed rest could hit an object of the 
size of a man at ordinary rifle range. One of our pistols was 
one day submerged in a bog for some minutes, but on trial, 
though dripping wet, not a single barrel missed fire. A border 
weapon, so reliable in every sense, would give brute courage to 
even a dyspeptic tailor. 

OFF AGAIN. 

December 26.— Thus fully equipped, far beyond what the tame 
event justified, we sallied forth from the inn-gate at San Augus- 
tine amid the cheers of the servants and of two small black 
boys who had watched with open eyes all our proceedings. 
Fanny, the mare, took naturally the lead, followed by B. lead- 
ing the mule by his halter, and Nack brought up the rear. The 



76 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS, 

mule, however, soon found the halter an annoyance, and pulling 
it away, walked on at his own gait. Seldom afterwards did he 
give us any trouble in guiding him. At first the mare must lead 
the way, but soon he consented to go himself in advance, and be 
driven whithersoever we would. When he loitered, the point of 
a ramrod was thrust into his flank, a stimulus of which he soon 
learned to have a peculiar dread. He was sometimes extremely 
reluctant to pass a well-filled, satisfactory-looking corn-crib, and 
in towns showed a strong propensity to turn down lanes, and to 
force a passage into spaces between buildings which were too 
narrow for his hampers, but on such occasions his long halter 
was attached, by a turn or two, to the strong pommel of the 
mare's saddle, and by dint of dragging before and poking behind 
he was forced onwards. In going through wood he always 
gauged very exactly the width of his load, frequently declining 
to venture where we thought he could pass, and going a cir- 
cuitous course upon his own hook. 

THE COUNTRY. 

We rode, during the day, eighteen miles, through a somewhat 
more pleasing country. The houses were less rude, the negro- 
huts more comfortable, the plantations altogether neater, than 
those we had passed before. We noticed one group of magno- 
lias and a few willow or swamp oaks (quercus phellos), whose 
leaves are long and narrow, like those of the willow, and remain 
green through the greater part of the winter. The principal 
wood was oak, mingled here and there with chestnut. We 
stopped for the night at a remarkably comfortable house, but 
could look out, as usual, at the stars between the logs. There 
being but one bed, B. lay upon the floor, with his feet to the fire. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 77 

PIETY IN NEGROES. 

The host was an intelligent man, and had a supply of books 
upon the mantel. Speaking about the preferences of negroes 
for certain religious sects, he said they were not particularly re- 
ligious about here any way. They generally joined the church 
which their master attended, if he attended any. Otherwise, 
that which was nearest. 

B. told of an old negro, near Victoria, the only Baptist of the 
neighborhood. He always " stuck up for his own faith," and was 
ready with a reason for it. " You kin read, now, keant you f 

"Yes." 

"Well, I s'pose you've read de Bible, haint you?" 

" Yes." 

4 ■ You've read about John de Baptis', haint you V 9 

"Yes." 

" Well, you never read 'bout any John de Methodis\ did you ? 
You see I has de Bible on my side, den." 

"done gone." 

Our host called out, "Boy, why don't you get me those 
things?" 

" I done got 'em, sar," replied the boy. 

At San Augustine, the morning previous, the children of the 
house were running about, wishing the lodgers a merry Christ- 
mas for a dime. One of them came to me a second time, but 
seeing her mistake, shouted out, "Oh! you done give me 
Christmas gift." 

" Done gone," for " gone" is an ordinary expression. 

Other modes of speech that strike a Northern man at almost 
any part of the South are — 



78 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The use of " Ho !" — " Ho ! John !" when we should call out 
simply, "John." 

" Far" and " bar," for fair, bear, etc. 

The constant use of "no account" — such a man, dog, or 
shower is of " no account" — for, worth little. 

"Sure" and " I wonder," as replies. 

" Christ," as an expletive, like " Sacristie." 

" Tallow fellow," for a mulatto. (Why yellow fellow, but 
black man f) 

" 111," for " vicious." " Is your dog ill?" 

" Miss Jane," by the negroes to the mistress after mar- 
riage. 

Constantly execrable grammar — " I never sawed," " I have 
saw." This by the lazy, schoolless, young men and women. 

NACOGDOCHES. 

December 27. — A similar country. At two, p. m., reached 
Nacogdoches, a considerable town. Near it the soil changes to 
sand, bearing pines. The houses along the road, at the entrance 
to the village, stand in gardens, and are neatly painted — the 
first exterior sign of cultivation of mind since Eed Eiver. The 
town is compact, the houses framed and boarded. One or two 
old Mexican stone buildings remain, and, like the Aztec struc- 
tures in more Southern cities, have been put to the uses of the 
invading race. One of them, fronting, with an arcade, on the 
square, is converted into a bar-room. About Nacogdoches there 
are many Mexicans still living. Two or three of them, wrapped 
in blankets and serapes, we saw leaning against posts, and look- 
ing on in grand decay. They preserve their exclusiveness, 
their priests and their own customs, intermarrying, except acci- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 79 

dents, only among themselves, and are considered here as harm- 
less vagabonds. 

As we entered the town, we overtook one of them, a young 
lad of a delicate brunette complexion and a soft, attractive eye, 
mounted on a donkey, carrying a bunch of ducks and a turkey 
across his saddle. B. hailed him at once in Spanish, and bought 
a brace of his ducks for two dimes. For the turkey he asked 
four bits (50 cents). He could speak no English ; the fowl he 
had shot upon the creek. 

The streets were full of people, and our arrival caused a sharp 
use of eyes and tongues. We were at once pronounced Cali- 
fornians, and accepted, of course, the designation. Our fit-out 
was examined in detail, as to prices and excellence, and, for the 
most part, highly approved. The pack, not lacking now the pres- 
tige of actual performance, was pronounced a touch beyond any- 
thing they had seen. 

When we inquired the occasion of the concourse, we were told 
they were " having a march." It was a joint celebration of 
Masons, Odd Fellows, and Sons of Temperance. The first we 
had the pleasure of seeing. There were about fifty men in 
black, with various insignia of sashes and aprons. After form- 
ing behind a house, two and two, they marched out upon the 
square, at the word of command, " the precession will forward." 
A tall negro with a violin struck up a jig with much dig- 
nity, and the officers in command displayed their swords to the 
best advantage by using them as walking sticks. After peram- 
bulating the square, the body entered the court-house, the floor 
of which had been strewn to a depth of six inches with saw-dust, 
converted thus into a vast spittoon. 



SO A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

SUPPLIES. 

In this town of 500 inhabitants, we found there was no flour. 
At San Augustine we had inquired in vain at all the stores for 
refined sugar. Not satisfied with some blankets that were shown 
us, we were politely recommended by the shop-keeper to try other 
stores. At each of the other stores we were told they had none, 

the only blankets in town we should find at 's, naming 

the one we had just quitted. The same thing occurred with 
several other articles. 

We provided ourselves with a couple of tin kettles, a frying- 
pan, and a small axe, preparatory to camp-life, which we were 
determined to begin at once. 

At night we reached a creek (streamlet) among the pines, Hve 
miles beyond Nacogdoches, and there made our first camp. 
Pitching our tent in the deepening twilight, at a first trial we 
met with some blundering difficulties. B. looked on with an 
experienced smile, while we made our arrangements as snug as 
time permitted, saying nothing, but busying himself with picking 
and cooking the ducks. After supper, rolling himself in his 
blanket, he disappeared for the night, with his feet to the fire, 
disdaining the canvas curtains. For ourselves, we lay quietly 
awake till morning dawned, numb withhold, and perhaps having 
a little secret excitement at the novel bed-chamber. 

On drawing our curtains, we found water already hot, and B. 
hugging his knees over the fire. We cooked a kettle of choco- 
late, picked the duck bones, in default of better picking, and 
went on our way. 

THE ANGELINA. 

The soil continued sandy, and the timber pine, during the 
early part of the day ; afterwards, oaks and black-jack, a black- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 81 

barked, short, gnarly oakling (quercus ferruginea). The soil of 
the creek-bottoms bears good cotton, and on the edge of the 
Angelina bottoms we saw a very heavy crop. The Angelina 
ferry is reached by a rude causeway, with bridges at intervals, 
some two or three miles in length, the only structure of the kind 
we saw in the state, though there is hardly a stream where it is 
not more or less needed. By a levee, these bottoms might prob- 
ably be made very valuable. 

CAMP DIET. 

We camped some twenty-five miles from Nacogdoches (Che- 
rokee Co.). Finding nothing else, after foraging the neighbor- 
hood, than a few small and watery sweet-potatoes, we had 
recourse to our own stores, and made trial of Borden's meat 
biscuit, a preparation which won high encomiums at the London 
Exhibition. After preparing a substantial dish of it, according 
to directions, we all tried it once, then turned unanimously to the 
watery potatoes. Once afterwards on the journey we tried 
again, with no better luck, then left all we had purchased to the 
birds. It may answer to support life, no doubt, where even corn- 
meal is not to be had, but I should decidedly undergo a very 
near approach to the traveler's last bourne, before having 
recourse to it, if that we had were an ordinary specimen. 

Next morning, after renewed efforts, we procured a few eggs. 

While eating them, we observed that Mr. Brown was missing. 

He had been turned loose, with the idea that he would not stray 

far from 'his companions, to augment the bulk of his rations by 

browsing upon dead leaves and shrubs. F. went in search of 

him. He soon met a stranger, who asked, in reply to inquiries, 

" Was it a large mule ? — Did he have a lariat % — Shod ? — Shoes 
4* 



82 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

worn V 9 " It was a large dun mule, you could not mistake it." 
" Oh, I have not seen your mule, but I saw the trail back yon- 
der." He was at last found some four miles down a by-road, 
whither he had followed a party of people returning from a ball. 
Among their animals were two young colts, towards which mules 
are said to have a peculiar tenderness. On seeing F., probably 
recollecting something hamperish in his face, the mule made off 
into a swamp. After a long chase he was captured, having his 
lariat inextricably entangled in a vine, which was cut into small 
pieces to free him. 

THE NECHES. WORN-OUT PLANTATIONS. 

Crossed the Neches into Houston County. This day's ride 
and the next were through a very poor country, clay or sand soil, 
bearing short oaks and black-jack. We passed one small meadow, 
or prairie, covered with coarse grass. Deserted plantations 
appeared again in greater numbers than the occupied. One farm, 
near which we stopped, w.^s worked by eight field hands. The 
crop had been fifty bales ; small, owing to a dry season. The 
corn had been exceedingly poor. The hands, we noticed, came 
in from the fields after eight o'clock. 

The deserted houses, B. said, were built before the date of 
Texan Independence. After Annexation the owners had moved 
on to better lands in the West. One house he pointed out as 
having been the residence of one of a band of pirates who occu- 
pied the country thirty or forty years ago. They had all been 
gradually killed. 

During the day we met two men on horseback, one upon 
wheels, and passed one emigrant family. This was all the motion 
upon the principal road of the district. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 83 

The following is a note of expenses during twenty-four hours. 
It will give a concise idea of our fare. 

1 bbl. corn (in the husk), - - - - $1 00 

12 bundles corn-fodder, - 75 

Corn-bread, 10 

Bacon, 05 

®ggs, 03 

Chocolate (from our own stores), 20 

$2 13 
Horses, 44 cents each ; Men, 12| cents each. 

The chocolate being soon exhausted, and not to be replaced, 
and eggs being a rare luxury, our private necessary expenses may 
be put down at five cents each per diem. To live upon this sum 
would, for some patients, be a capital prescription ; for others it 
is only a sour and aggravating discomfort. 

The Neches is here about three rods in width. Were it not 
for overhanging timber, it would be, at high water, a navigable 
stream; as it is, keel-boats sometimes come up as far as the 
ferry where we crossed. Like all the eastern rivers of Texas it 
is thick with mud. The Colorado is the first stream that runs 
clear. West of it each becomes more limpid as you progress. 
The water of the Medina, twenty miles beyond San Antonio, is 
as pure and transparent at the ford as the finest plate-glass. 
This beauty of the West is not the least of those that have 
caused such a desertion of Eastern settlements. 

A SUNDAY IN CAMP. ALIMENTARY SUBSTANCES. 

The second day's camp was a few miles beyond the town of 
Crockett — the shire-town of Houston County. Not being able to 
find corn for our horses, we returned to the village for it. 



84 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We obtained what we wanted for a day's rest, which we pro- 
posed for Sunday, the following day, and loaded it into our 
emptied hampers. We then looked about the town for current 
provisions for ourselves. We were rejoiced to find a German 
baker, but damped by finding he had only molasses-cakes and 
candies for sale. There was no flour in the town, except the little 
of which he made his cakes. He was from Hamburgh, and 
though he found a tolerable sale, to emigrants principally, he was 
very tired of Crockett, and intended to move to San Antonio 
among his countrymen. He offered us coffee, and said he had 
had beer, but on Christmas-day a mass of people called on him ; 
he had " treated " them all, and they had finished his supply. 

We inquired at seven stores, and at the two inns, for butter, 
flour, or wheat-bread, and fresh meat. There was none in town. 
One inn-keeper offered us salt-beef, the only meat, except pork, 
in town. At the stores we found crackers, worth in New York 
6 cents a pound, sold here at 20 cents ; poor raisins, 30 cents ; 
Manilla rope, half-inch, 80 cents a pound. When butter was to 
be had it came in firkins from New York, although an excellent 
grazing country is near the town. 

SUNDAY HABITS. 

We got some work done at a saddler's. He told us he didn't 
do work on Sundays, but he would try to finish this in the even- 
ing, and would leave it at the next store for us. The stores, he 
said, were all open, and made their best sales on Sunday. It 
was usual in this part of the country. We asked if there were a 
church in the town 1 

" Yes." 

" Of what denomination 1" 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 85 

" Oh, none in particular. They let anybody preach that 
comes along." 

BLACK TEMPERANCE. 

Eeturning with our corn, we overheard the following negro 
conversation : 

" Wher' you gwine to-morrow ?" 

" To 's." 

" Ken you get whisky ther V 9 

"Yes." 

"Good rye-whisky V 9 

"Yes." 

"What do they ask for it?" 

" A dollar and a half a gallon. I don't want no whisky dat 
costs less 'n a dollar and a half a gallon. I'd rather hev it then 
your common rot-gut fur a dime. I don't want to buy no whisky 
fur less 'n a dollar and a half a gallon." 

" Well, I du. I'd like it was a picayune a gallon, I would." 

January 1, 1854. — Our Sunday camp was in a sheltered spot, 
where fuel abounded. The tent faced a huge hollow log, against 
which we built, before going to bed, an enormous fire of logs, 
piled six or eight feet high. The blaze shot high in air, and 
illumined the whole neighborhood. But ice formed, notwith- 
standing, in water standing at the mouth of the tent, and we 
passed another very chilly night. We had anticipated that cold 
would be the greatest enemy to comfort, and had made every 
provision for encountering it. We put on at night extra under- 
clothing, an overcoat, a Guernsey shirt, two hunting-shirts, and 
even Canada leggins. But through all this, and a triple thick- 
ness of blanket, and through an india rubber carpet, the cold 
of the ground penetrated and benumbed us. The thermometer 



86 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

stood, at 10 p. m., at 38 cleg. (Fahrenheit) ; at 8 a. m., at 36 cleg.; at 
12 m., Jan. 1st, in the tent, on which the sun was pouring, at 80 
deg.; at 8 p. m., at 44 deg. 

After feeding the horses, F. went with the rifle in search 
of something for ourselves, but returned, having seen nothing. 
B., going with dimes, had better luck. He brought at last 
a hoe-cake and half a dozen eggs, from a neighboring cabin. . 
A rough omelette was speedily constructed and demolish- 
ed. 

At this camp we were annoyed by hogs, beyond all description. 
At almost every camp we were surrounded by them ; but here 
they seemed perfectly frantic and delirious with hunger. They 
ran directly through the fire, and even carried off a chicken 
w T hich B., on a second excursion, had been able to procure, after 
it was dressed and spitted. While the horses were feeding, it 
required the constant attendance of two of us to keep them at 
bay ; and even then they secured more than half the corn. 
Fanny was so shocked and disturbed as to refuse all food. For 
some minutes the fiercest of them w r ould resist even a clubbing, 
eating and squealing on through the blows. These animals 
proved, indeed, throughout Texas, a disgusting annoyance, though 
after procuring an excellent dog, a day or two after, we were rid 
of the worst of it. 

We occupied our day in writing and reading (for in our lux- 
uriously capacious hampers was a compact little library of dia- 
mond editions), and in making, sailor-like, repairs to such 
articles as were already giving way under the continued wear and 
tear of travel. 

A ROASTED BROAD-AXE. 

Two pleasant incidents occurred : 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 87 

A negro, who had been prowling about us for some time, sud- 
denly came up and said : — 

" Genlumun, whar's that log V 9 

"What log ?" 

" Why, that ar log whar I lef my broad-axe." 

We had seen no broad-axe. 

" Well, I lef my axe right here day afore yesterday, in de 
holler of a log. Yes, sar, dis am de very spot. Dat ar's whar 
I was cutting." 

Sure enough, on poking in our ashes, we found something like 
an axe, which we offered him. As it was red hot, he declined 
taking it, and commenced, in a whining tone, to describe how new 
it was, how he had put it all sharp in our big log, and how he 
should have to pay for it, cause his massa never would believe 
that it had done gone got burned up. 

As we had, in fact, had the use of the wooden helve, we 
determined that we were bound in equity to pay for it, and sent 
him off with the cooled axe, a box of Borden's biscuit, and a 
dollar, laughing on the other side of his mouth. 

A WINDFALL. 

Not long after this, while strolling with the gun, I came upon 
traces of fresh blood, and following them, found a fine fat wild 
turkey upon the ground. It had evidently been shot within an 
hour or two, and had had time to fly and run thus far from the 
sportsman before dropping. 

This was a waif at any time not to be despised, and in the 
actual state of our larder, a real piece of good fortune. Keep- 
ing for awhile my own counsel, I carried it proudly into camp, 
where its arrival was welcomed with profuse congratulations. 



88 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Two hours thereafter, we were feeling decidedly happier 
men. 

A FAMILY SERVANT. 

At the cabin where our hoe-cake was purchased, a negro man 
was the sole servant. He had been away, he said, all night, to 
see his wife, and came home at four o'clock to grind the corn, 
and bake it for the family's breakfast. The women of the 
family did no house work. The planter raised only corn and 
hogs. These were the hogs whose acquaintance we had made. 

Life there was certainly cheap. This one negro, supposing 
them to be squatters, was the only investment, except a few 
days' work once in a lifetime, in cutting and piling together the 
logs that composed their residence. A little corn and bacon, 
sold now and then to travelers, furnished the necessary coffee 
and tobacco ; nature and the negro did all the rest. 

THE DAY OF REST. 

An emigrant party from Alabama passed, having fifty negroes, 
and 100 head of cattle, sheep, etc., going to the Brazos, to settle. 
" Oh, my God ! How tired I am," I heard an old negro 
woman exclaim. A man of powerful frame answered, " I feel like 
as tho' I couldn't lift my legs much longer." This was about 
twelve o'clock. 

Near us, within sound, were two negroes all day splitting rails 
— Sunday and New Year's day. 

POST-OFFICE DEPARTMENT. 

At evening F. rode into town to mail our letters. One was a 
package of notes, on letter sheets, in a large envelope. Wishing 
to prepay it he asked, " What is the postage on this, sir V ' 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 89 

" How many sheets are there ?" 

" Oh, twelve or fourteen." The postmaster commenced tearing 
off one end of the envelope. 

" Stop. Don't open it." 

" It'll save putting it in a way-bill. I suppose I've no right to 
charge only one cent!" 

" Yes, three cents per half ounce. It must be weighed." 

His scales were " broke down," but it was finally weighed after 
a fashion, paid roundly, and put in a bag, unmarked. 

THE FIRST PRAIRIE. 

Jan. 2. — We came to-day upon the first prairie of any extent, 
and shortly after crossed Trinity Eiver. After having been shut 
in during so many days by dreary winter forests, we were quite 
exhilarated at coming out upon an open country and a distant 
view. During the whole day's ride the soil improved, and the 
country grew more attractive. Small prairies alternated agree- 
ably with post-oak woods. The post-oak (quercus obtusiloba) forms 
a very prominent feature in Texas scenery and impressions. It is a 
somewhat small broad-leaved oak of symmetrical shape, and appears 
wherever the soil is light and sandy, in a very regular open forest 
growth. It stands in islands in the large prairies or frequently 
borders on open prairie through a large tract. The roads, where 
practicable, prefer the post-oak, for summer shade and dry and 
uniform footing. It is seldom cleared for cultivating the soil ; 
but in the West, where timber is scarce, an island of post-oak 
adds very much to the value of a tract for sale, furnishing mate- 
rials for cabin and fences. 



90 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

TRINITY RIVER NAVIGATION. 

We came upon the Trinity at a bluff, and found the ferryman 
absent. His wife and a little son attempted to ferry us over, but 
the boat was unprovided with oars, and though we all helped as 
well as we could, with poles and bits of board, we were several 
times swept down the river, and obliged to drag the boat back to 
the point of starting. After long labor we succeeded in reaching 
the opposite bank. 

The Trinity here is, at this low water stage, about three rods 
wide, muddy, and running with some rapidity. 

It is considered the best navigable stream of Texas ; but this 
winter there had been no rise, and no navigation for six months. 
It was still at low water when we crossed it on our return, four 
months later. At high water it is navigable as high as the Three 
Forks above, or some 300 miles from its mouth. But none of 
the Texan rivers can be said to be permanently navigable, as is 
evident, when this is called the best of them. The Brazos is 
broader, but more rapid and dangerous. In good seasons, boats 
reach points from one to two hundred' miles from its mouth. 
The Colorado is said to be navigable for 200 miles, or as far as 
Austin ; but is so only for the smallest class of boats, and that 
so seldom, and with so much danger, that, practically, all freight 
is hauled to and from the coast by mules and oxen : in fact, cot- 
ton is hauled on wagons, from all parts of the state, to Houston, 
Indianola, or Ked Kiver, unless its owners are content to leave it 
an indefinite period upon the nearest river-bank, subject to the 
vague chances of a rise. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 91 

TRINITY BOTTOM LANDS. 

On landing on the west side of the Trinity, we entered a rich 
bottom, even in winter, of an almost tropical aspect. The road 
had been cut through a cane-brake, itself a sort of Brobdignag 
grass. Immense trees, of a great variety of kinds, interlaced 
their branches and reeled with their own rank growth. Many 
vines, especially huge grape-vines, ran hanging from tree 
to tree, adding to the luxuriant confusion. Spanish moss 
clung thick everywhere, supplying the shadows of a winter foli- 
age. 

These bottom lands bordering the Trinity are among the 
richest of rich Texas. They are not considered equal, in degree 
of fatness, to some parts of the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe 
bottoms, but are thought to have compensation in reliability for 
steady cropping. The open coast-prairie grazing districts extend 
to within a short distance of where we crossed. Above are some 
fine planting counties, and high up, in the region of the Forks of 
the Trinity, are lands equally suitable to cotton, wheat, and corn, 
which were universally described to us as, for Southern settlers, 
the most promising part of the state. 

We made our camp on the edge of the bottom, and for safety 
against our dirty persecutors, the hogs, pitched our tent within 
a large hog-yard, putting up the bars to exclude them. The 
trees within had been sparingly cut, and we easily found tent- 
poles and fuel at hand. 

SALE OF LANDS AND HANDS. 

The plantation on which we were intruding had just been 
sold, we learned, at two dollars per acre. There were seven hun- 
dred acres, and the buildings, with a new gin-house, worth near- 



92 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ly one thousand dollars, were included in the price. With the 
land were sold eight prime field hands. A quarter of the land 
was probably subject to overflow, and the limits extended over 
some unproductive upland. 

When field hands are sold in this way with the land, the 
family servants, who have usually been selected from the field 
hands, must be detached to follow the fortunes of the seller., 
When, on the other hand, the land is sold simply, the whole 
body of slaves move away, leaving frequently wives and children 
on neighboring plantations. Such a cause of separation must be 
exceedingly common among the restless, almost nomadic, small 
proprietors of the South. 

But the very word " sale," applied to a slave, implies this 
cruelty, leaving, of course, the creature's whole happiness to his 
owner's discretion and humanity. 

As if to give the lie to our reflections, however, the rascals 
here appeared to be particularly jolly, perhaps adopting Mark 
Tapley's good principles. They were astir half the night, talk- 
ing, joking, and singing loud and merrily. 

This plantation had made this year seven bales to the hand. 
The water for the house, we noticed, was brought upon heads a 
quarter of a mile, from a rain-pool, in which an old negress was 
washing. 

LEON COUNTY. 

January 3. — From the Trinity to Centreville — county town of 
Leon County. At some fork in the indistinct road we have 
gone wrong, and are to the northward of the regular course. 
During the first part of the day we went over small, level, wet 
prairies, irregularly skirted by heavy timber, with occasional 
isolated clumps and scattered bushes. Most of the prairies 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 93 

have been burned over. Both yesterday and to-day we have 
been surrounded by the glare of fires at night. The grass is 
coarse and reedy, and exceedingly dry. Our road was little 
better than a cow-track, and once we followed a worn cattle- 
path for some two or three miles, and were obliged to follow it 
back again. 

After a few miles began post-oak, which changed to black- 
jack, and for the remainder of the day the country was as for- 
bidding as a moor. We shot a few quails, which are very com- 
mon, and saw, several times, turkeys and wild geese. During the 
day we passed but one house and one still saw-mill, in a narrow 
belt of pine. At night, rain threatening our canvas, we took 
shingle shelter in preference, in the 

CENTREVILLE HOTEL. 

The hotel was only a log cabin, and we suffered, as usual, 
from drafts of cold air. Our animals, however, were well shel- 
tered. 

Mentioning to the host our annoyance from hogs, he offered 
us a perfect protection in the shape of a sturdy bull-terrier. 
After examining her, we added her to our company. She was 
made up of muscle, compactly put together behind a pair of 
frightful jaws, and had a general aspect which struck awe into 
small Mexicans and negroes wherever she appeared. Hogs 
cared little for her eye; but at the word of command she 
would spring upon them like a hungry lion, and rout a whole 
herd. 

"Judy" (this was her sonorous name) manifested some re- 
luctance to join our party, and was, consequently, tied by a 
stout cord to the mule, and hung by the neck until she — came. 






94 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

She tried, from time to time, the experiment of going an inde- 
pendent route upon the opposite side of stumps and trees, with 
the result of being suddenly arrested, and quickly reappearing 
upon the other side, with the loss of much temper and some 
nose. She also manifested much disgust by yelps at the mud- 
puddles through which she was dragged without regard to deli- 
cacy. Finally, toward night of her first day's journey, having 
become much entangled in the mule's legs and her own, by some 
Providence, the cord parted, and she suddenly became the object 
of the tenderest epithets and sundry remnants of corn-bread, on 
which, not knowing what else to do, she came along, and frank- 
ly gave allegiance to her new masters. She suffered much from 
fatigue, and in process of time wore her feet to the bone, but by 
great care, which she certainly deserved, she accompanied us not 
only through Western Texas, but even accomplished, on foot, 
the whole distance back to Kichmond, Ya. Her tired bones 
have now found a last rest upon Staten Island. 

Our host was even more than commonly inquisitive, while we 
happened to be in the humor of brevity. Finally, as we were 
leaving, he asked us directly, what we were about. We must 
excuse him, but his curiosity was so strong, and he knew he 
should have a thousand people asking him. We told him some 
of us were traveling for health. He had reckoned that was it. 
Well, we had taken the right way. He had left the height of 
luxury in New Orleans on that account himself, and had had 
perfect health in Texas. 

There was much very rich land about here, he said, in the 
creek bottoms. We had passed one field white with excellent 
cotton, entirely unpicked. This, he informed us, was often the 
case. The crop was so great that the hands that had sown the 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 95 

seed were unable to reap. Ten bales to the band were sometimes 
made. 

ACROSS THE BRAZOS. 

Through further experiences of this sort of travel it is useless 
to ask the reader's company in detail of days. 

Until we reached Austin, the people, in cultivation of charac- 
ter and style of life, were as uniform as their pork and corn diet. 
The features of the country became gradually more attractive. 
Near the Navasoto we rejoined the regular San Antonio road, 
and came out upon large open prairies with long and heavy skirts 
of timber, and this description applies to the whole region as far 
as the Colorado, the prairies, as you proceed westward, growing 
more and more extensive, and the proportion of wooded land 
smaller. 

We crossed the Brazos at the old Mexican post of Tenoxtitlan, 
but saw no traces of ruins near the ferry. The Brazos bottoms 
were here some six miles in width, with a soil of the greatest 
fertility. 

SADDLE AND TENT LIFE. 

Our days' rides were short, usually from twelve to twenty 
miles only, which is about the common distance, we found, in 
steady travel. We soon reduced the art of camping to a habit, 
and learned to go through the motions with mechanical precision, 
and the least possible fatigue. 

As the shadows grow long we intimate to one another that it 
is time to be choosing a camp ground, and near the first house 
at which we can obtain corn, select a sheltered spot, where fuel 
and water are at hand. Saddles off and hampers — the horses are 
left free, save Fanny, who is tied for a nucleus. The mule in- 
stantly is down, and reappears with his four feet in the air, 



96 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

giving loud grunts of satisfaction. A tree, overhanging a smooth 
slope, is taken for the back-rope of the tent, the hampers, saddles, 
and arms placed by it. The tent is unrolled and hoisted to the 
tree, a pole is cut for its other end, the long tent-rope carried 
over it and made fast to a bush or a peg, and when the corners 
are pegged out by the flat iron pegs attached, our night quarters 
are ready, and our traps already under it, secure from dew. 
One of us, meanwhile, has collected fuel and lighted a fire, 
brought water and set it heating. Then there is a journey for 
corn, and a task to husk it. The horses are caught and offered 
their supper, each on his own blanket, as manger. They bite it 
from the ear, taking, now and then, especially the mule, some of 
the husks, as salad. By this time it is nearly dark, and we 
hastily collect fuel for the night, thinking, rather dolefully, what 
we may have for supper. If nothing have been shot or bought 
there is only the hot corn-meal, engaged at the cabin with the 
corn, to be sent for. This we discuss with some rancor and a cup 
of coffee. Then comes a ramble out into the vague, nominally 
for logs of fire-wood, but partly for romance. A little way from 
the fire-light glower indistinct old giants all about ; sticks crack 
under the feet, the horses start and peer wildly, with stretched ears, 
after you ; who knows what wild-cat, wolf, or vagabond nigger may 
be watching to spring upon you if you go further from the light. 
Then, leaning upon your elbow, you lounge awhile upon the con- 
fines of combustion, toasting your various fronts, and never 
getting warmed through. Then a candle and a book or pencil 
in the tent, hooded in blankets. Then a piling on of logs for a 
parting and enduring fire, and your weary bones, covered with 
everything available, stretch themselves, from a saddle-bag, out 
towards the blaze, and — the chilly daylight. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 97 

VENISON. 

The following evening, beyond Centreville, we stopped at a 
small cabin, on a hill, in the edge of a prairie, which was occu- 
pied by the families of two herdsmen. They could not lodge us. 

Could they provide us corn for our horses ? They rather 
grumblingly consented to do so ; the man who measured it out 
(and gave short measure, too,) muttering that " they had to most 
slave themselves for travelers." Perhaps the woman would 
oblige us by making a pone or two of corn-bread? She supposed 
she must accommodate us. And, perhaps, they might have 
some meat ? Yes, they had some venison and turkeys that they 
had shot that day. We should be glad to have a small slice of 
venison, if they could spare it. Yes, they would let us have 
some venison. 

Instead of a small slice of venison, the man cut off a whole 
haunch and threw it into our corn-sack. For this the charge 
was only twenty-five cents. The pone was twenty-five cents and 
the corn one dollar per bushel. We went to the nearest wood and 
camped for the night. 

THE PRAIRIES. 

In the morning we at first rode through the rich alluvial bor- 
der of a creek, dark with the rank luxuriance of a semi-tropical 
vegetation ; great trees, with many reclining trunks springing 
together from the ground, their limbs intricately interlaced with 
vines ; grotesque cactus and dwarf palm, with dark, glossy 
evergreen shrubs, and thickets of verdant cane hedging in our 
bridle-path ; the sunshine but feebly penetrating through the 
thick, waving canopy of dark gray moss which everywhere hung 

above our heads. 
5 



98 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Soon after fording the creek, we ascended a steep hill, the 
forest still continuing, till, reaching the brow, we came out sud- 
denly, as if a curtain had risen, upon a broad prairie, reaching, in 
swells like the ocean after a great storm, to the horizon before 
us ; a thick screen of wood edging it in the distance on the left, 
and an open grove of low, branching oaks breaking irregularly 
upon it, with spurs and scattered single trees, to the right. Our 
path, turning before us, continued along this broken edge, cross- 
ing capes and islands of the grove, and bays of the prairie. 
Horses and gray and red cattle dotted the waving brown surface, 
and in one of these bays, to our right, were six deer unconcernedly 
browsing. As we approached, however, they stopped, and raised 
high their heads, sniffing the air, and after a few moments' de- 
bate, slowly and undecidedly, often stopping to look again, they 
walked into cover. 

After two miles' ride along the woodland border, the prairie 
opened fair in the course before us, and our trail led directly 
across it. The waving surface soon became regular, like the 
swell of the ocean after the subsidence of a gale which has blown 
long from the same direction. Very grand in vastness and sim- 
plicity were these waves. Four of them would cover a mile, and 
yet as we ascended one after another, the contour of the next 
would appear dark against the sky, following Hogarth's line of 
beauty and of grace with mathematical exactness. Vertically, 
the line of the swell bent before us, and on the left we saw in the 
hollow of the wave, or as its crest was there depressed, the far 
away skirt of the dark wood ; on the right, only the remote line 
of the prairie swelling against the horizon. Here were red and 
black clouds of distant fires. The sky was nearly covered with 
gusty, gray clouds, with the clearest blue seen through them. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 99 

The night had been unusually mild, and the forenoon was becom- 
ing sultry. 

THE FIRST NORTHER. 

Once again we came to the brow of the swell ; but instead of 
the usual grassy surface before us, the ground was dead black — 
the grass having been lately burned off. The fire must have been 
intense ; for the whole surface of the ground appeared charred and 
black as ink. The air had been perfectly calm ; but as we arrived 
near the next summit there was suddenly a puff of wind from the 
westward, bringing with it the scent of burning hay ; and in less 
than thirty seconds, another puff, chill as if the door of a vault 
had been opened at our side ; a minute more, it was a keen but 
not severe cold northerly wind. In five minutes we had all got 
our overcoats on, and were bending against it in our saddles. 
The change in temperature was not very great (12° in 12 minutes,) 
but was singularly rapid ; in fact, instantaneous — from rather un- 
comfortably warm to rather uncomfortably cool. 

" Is this a norther?" asked we. 

" I shouldn't wonder," said B. 

It was our first experience. 

Steadily the gale rose, and the cold increased during the day. 
And all day long we rode on, sometimes in the low, dark, and 
comparatively calm and mild " bottom lands," sometimes in the 
shelter of post-oak groves, but mainly across the high, broad, 
bleak, upland prairies. At sunset, we had seen no house for an 
hour or two, and were fearing that we should have to find a har- 
bor in some sheltered spot, where we could stay our tent against 
the blast, and let our horses go unfed. As we came to the top 
of one of the prairie swells, we saw, about half a mile to the 
right of the road, a point of woodland, and a little beyond it, on 



100 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

a hill-top, was a house. We turned off, and with some difficulty 
made our way across the gullies between the hills, and approach- 
ed the house. It proved to be deserted ; but beyond it, on the 
top of the next and highest hill, there was another. We rode 
to it, and inquired if we could obtain corn for our horses, and 
shelter and food for ourselves. The proprietor " supposed we 
might," and our horses were led away, not to a stable, but to a 
pen or yard, on the windward side of the hill. We strapped 
blankets upon them, and left them before their corn, to weather 
it as they could, and betook ourselves to the house. 

a grazier's farm. 

It was a log cabin, of one room, fourteen feet by fourteen, 
with another small room in a " lean-to" of boards on the wind- 
ward side. There was no window, but there were three doors, 
and openings between the logs in all quarters. The door of the 
" lean-to" was barricaded, but this erection was very open ; and 
as the inner door, from sagging on its wooden hinges, could not 
be closed at all, the norther had nearly free course through the 
cabin. A strong fire was roaring in the great chimney at the 
end of the room, and we all clustered closely around it, " the 
woman" alone passing through our semicircle, as she prepared 
the " pone" and " fry," and coffee for supper. 

Our host seemed a man of thirty, and had lived in Texas 
through all the " trouble times." His father had moved his 
family here when Texas was still Mexican territory ; and for 
years of the young man's life, Indians were guarded against and 
hunted just as wolves now are by the shepherd. They had 
always held their ground against them, however, and had con- 
stantly increased in wealth, but had retired for a few weeks be- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 101 

fore the Mexican invasion. His father Had no property when 
he came here, but the wagon and horses, and the few household 
effects he brought with him. " Now," said the son, " he raises 
fifty bales of cotton" — equivalent to informing us that he owned 
twenty or thirty negroes, and his income was from two to three 
thousand dollars a year. The young man himself owned prob- 
ably many hundred acres of the prairie and woodland range 
about him, and a large herd of cattle. He did not fancy taking 
care of a plantation. It was too much trouble. He was a regu- 
lar Texan, he boasted, and was not going to slave himself look- 
ing after niggers. Any man who had been brought up in Texas, 
he said, could live as well as he wanted to, without working 
more than one month in the year. For about a month in the 
year he had to work hard, driving his cattle into the pen, and 
roping and marking the calves ; this was always done in a kind 
of frolic in the spring — the neighboring herdsmen assisting each 
other. During the rest of the year he hadn't anything to do. 
When he felt like it he got on to a horse and rode around, and 
looked after his cattle ; but that wasn't work, he said — 'twas only 
play. He raised a little corn ; sometimes he got more than he 
needed, and sometimes not as much ; he didn't care whether it was 
enough or not — he could always buy meal, only bought meal 
wasn't so sweet as that was which they ground fresh in their 
own steel mill. When he wanted to buy anything, he could 
always sell some cattle and raise the money ; it did not take 
much to supply them with all they wanted. 

This was very evident. The room was, as I said, fourteen 
feet square, with battens of split boards tacked on between the 
broader openings of the logs. Above, it was open to the rafters, 
and in many places the sky could be seen between the shingles of 



102 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the roof. A rough board box, three feet square, with a shelf in it, 
contained the crockery-ware of the establishment ; another simi- 
lar box held the store of meal, coffee, sugar, and salt , a log 
crib at the horse-pen held the corn, from which the meal was 
daily ground, and a log smoke or store-house contained the store 
of pork. A canopy-bed filled one quarter of the room ; a cradle, 
four chairs seated with untanned deer-hide, a table, a skillet or 
bake-kettle, a coffee-kettle, a frying-pan, and a rifle laid across 
two wooden pegs on the chimney, with a string of patches, pow- 
der-horn, pouch, and hunting- knife, completed the furniture of 
the house. We all sat with hats and overcoats on, and the 
woman cooked in bonnet and shawl. As I sat in the chimney- 
corner I could put both my hands out, one laid on the other, 
between the stones of the fire-place and the logs of the wall. 

A pallet of quilts and blankets was spread for us in the lean- 
to, just between the two doors. We slept in all our clothes, 
including overcoats, hats, and boots, and covered entirely with 
blankets. At seven in the morning, when we threw them off, 
the mercury in the thermometer in our saddle-bags, which we 
had used for a pillow, stood at 25 deg. Fahrenheit. 

We contrived to make cloaks and hoods from our blankets, 
and after going through with the fry, coffee and pone again, and 
paying one dollar each for the entertainment of ourselves and 
horses, we continued our journey. 

The norther was stronger and the cold greater than the day 
before ; but as we took it on our quarter in the course we were 
going during most of the day, we did not suffer. 

HARBOR IN AN INN. 

Late in the same evening we reached the town of Caldwell, 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 103 

the "seat of justice" of Burleson County. We were obliged 
to leave our horses in a stable, made up of a roof, in which was 
a loft for the storage of provender, set upon posts, without side- 
boarding, so that the norther met with no obstruction. It was 
filled with horses, and ours alone were blanketed for the night. 
The mangers were very shallow and narrow, and as the corn 
was fed on the cob, a considerable proportion of it was thrown 
out by the horses in their efforts to detach the edible portion. 
With laudable economy, our landlord had twenty-five or thirty 
pigs running at large in the stable, to prevent this overflow from 
being wasted. 

The hotel building was an unusually large and fine one ; the 
principal room had glass windows. Several panes of these were, 
however, broken, and the outside door could not be closed from 
without ; and when closed, was generally pried open with a 
pocket-knife by those who wished to go out. A great part of the 
time it was left open. Supper was served in another room, in 
which there was no fire, and the outside door was left open for 
the convenience of the servants in passing to and from the 
kitchen, which, as usual here at large houses, was in a detached 
building. Supper was, however, eaten with such rapidity that 
nothing had time to freeze on the table. 

TEXAN CONVERSATION. 

There were six Texans, planters and herdsmen, who had made 
harbor at the inn for the norther, two German shop-keepers and 
a young lawyer, who, were boarders, besides our parly of three, 
who had to be seated before the fire during " the evening." We 
kept coats and hats on, and gained as much warmth, from the 
friendly manner in which we drew together, as possible. After 



104 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ascertaining, by a not at all impertinent or inconsiderate method 
of inquiry, where we were from, which way we were going, what 
we thought of the country, what we thought of the weather, and 
what were the capacities and the cost of our fire-arms, we were 
considered as initiated members of the crowd, and "the conversa- 
tion became general.' ' 

One of the gentlemen asked me if I had seen " this new 
instrument.' ' 

" "What instrument V 9 

" This grand boojer" 

" I never heard of it before ; what is it V 9 

" I don't know, only that." He pointed to a large poster on 
the wall, advertising " L. Gilbert's celebrated patent Grand, Bou- 
doir and square piano-fortes" I mention the circumstance as a 
caution to printers on the choice of words for the use of their 
emphatic type. 

" Sam Houston and his eccentricities" formed a very interest- 
ing topic of conversation. Nearly every person present had seen 
the worthy senator in some ridiculous and not very honorable posi- 
tion, and there was much laughter at his expense. As he seemed 
to be held in very little respect, we inquired if he were not popu- 
lar in Texas. He had many warm old friends, they said, and 
always made himself popular with new acquaintances, but the 
greater part of the old fighting Texans hated and despised him. 

ABOUT NIGGERS. 

But the most interesting subject to Northerners which was 
talked of, was brought up by two gentlemen speaking of the 
house where they spent the previous night. " The man made a 
white boy, fourteen or fifteen years old, get up and go out in the 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 105 

norther for wood, when there was a great, strong nigger fellow 
lying on the floor, doing nothing. God ! I had an appetite to 
give him a hundred, right there." 

" Why, you wouldn't go out into the norther, yourself, would 
you, if you were not forced to f" inquired one, laughingly. 

" I wouldn't have a nigger in my house that I was afraid to 
set to work at anything I wanted him to do at any time. They'd 
hired him out to go to a new place next Thursday, and they 
were afraid if they didn't treat him well, he'd run away. If I 
couldn't break a nigger of running away, I wouldn't have him 
any how." 

" I can tell you how you can break a nigger of running away, 
certain," said another. " There was an old fellow I used to 
know in Georgia, that always cured his so. If a nigger ran 
away, when he caught him, he would bind his knee over a log, 
and fasten him so he couldn't stir ; then he'd take a pair of 
pincers and pull one of his toe-nails out by the roots ; and tell 
him that if he ever run away again, he would pull out two of 
them, and if he run away again after that, he told them he'd pull 
out four of them, and so on, doubling each time. He never had 
to do it more than twice— it always cured them." 

One of the company then said that he was at the present time 
in pursuit of a negro. He had bought him of a connection of 
his in Mississippi ; he told him when he bought him that he was 
a great runaway. He had run away from him three times, and 
always when they caught him he was trying to get bach to Illi- 
nois; that was the reason he sold him. " He offered him to me 
cheap," he continued, " and I bought him because he was a first- 
rate nigger, and I thought perhaps I could break him of running 
away by bringing him down to this new country. I expect he's 



106 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

making for Mexico, now. I am a-most sure I saw his tracks on 
the road about twelve miles back, where he was a-coming on this 
way. Night before last I engaged with a man who's got some 
first-rate nigger dogs to meet me here to-night ; but I suppose the 
cold keeps him back." He then asked us to look out for him as 
we went on west, and gave us a minute description of him that 
we might recognize him. He was " a real black nigger," and 
carried off a double-barreled gun with him. Another man, who 
was going on by another road westward, offered to look for 
him that way, and to advertise him. Would he be likely to 
defend himself with the gun if he should try to secure him, he 
asked. The owner said he had no doubt he would. He was as 
humble a nigger wdien he was at work as ever he had seen ; but 
he was a mighty resolute nigger — there was no man had more 
resolution. " Couldn't I induce him to let me take the gun by 
pretending I wanted to look at it, or something 1 I'd talk to 
him simple ; make as if I was a stranger, and ask him about the 
road, and so on, and finally ask him what he had got for a gun, 
and to let me look at it." The owner didn't believe he'd 
let go of the gun ; he was a " nigger of sense — as much 
sense as a white man ; he was not one of your kinkey-headed 
niggers." The chances of catching him were discussed. Some 
thought they were good, and some that the owner might almost 
as well give it up, he'd got such a start. It was three hundred 
miles to the Mexican frontier, and he'd have to make fires to cook 
the game he would kill, and could travel only at night ; but then 
every nigger or Mexican he could find would help him, and if he 
had so much sense, he'd manage to find out his way pretty 
straight, and yet not have white folks see him. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 107 

SHEEP AND PRICES. 

We had observed sheep not far from Caldwell for the first 
time. They were in a large flock of some four or five hundred, 
overlooked by a black boy on horseback, attended by two hounds. 
We were told that the wool from this flock had been sold in the 
neighborhood at twenty-seven cents per pound, and that the 
flock had averaged four pounds to the fleece. 

There had been a " hiring" of negroes at the County House 
the week before. Eight or ten were hired out at from $175 to 
$250 per annum — the hirer contracting to feed them well and to 
provide two substantial suits of clothing and shoes. 

The price of beef at Caldwell was two cents per pound ; pork, 
five cents ; corn -fed ditto, six cents. 

MANNERS AND THE WEATHER. 

We slept in a large upper room, in a company of five, with a 
broken window at the head of our bed, and another at our side, 
offering a short cut to the norther across our heads. 

We were greatly amused to see one of our bed-room compan- 
ions gravely spit in the candle before jumping into bed, ex- 
plaining to some one who made a remark, that he always did so, 
it gave him time to see what he was about before it went out. 

The next morning the ground was covered with sleet, and the 
gale still continued (a pretty steady close-reefing breeze) during 
the day. 

We wished to have a horse shod. The blacksmith, who was 
a white man, we found in his shop, cleaning a fowling-piece. It 

was too d d cold to work, he said, and he was going to shoot 

some geese ; he, at length, at our urgent request, consented to 
earn a dollar ; but, after getting on his apron, he found thai we 



108 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

had lost a shoe, and took it off again, refusing to make a shoe 

while this d d norther lasted, for any man. As he had no 

shoes ready made, he absolutely turned us out of the shop, and 
obliged us to go seventy-five miles further, a great part of the 
way over a pebbly road, by which the beast lost three shoes be- 
fore he could be shod. 

This respect for the norther is by no means singular here. The 
publication of the week's newspaper in Bastrop was interrupted 
by the norther, the editor mentioning, as a sufficient reason for 
the irregularity, the fact that his printing-office was in the north 
part of the house. 

We continued our journey during the day in spite of the in- 
creased chilliness of the air, occasioned by the icy surface with 
which the sleet of the night had clothed the prairies, without 
any discomfort, until we were obliged again to enter one of these 
prairie houses. During the next night it fell calm, and the cold, 
as measured by the contraction of the mercury, was greater 
than at any time before. But the sun rose clear the next day 
and by noon, the weather was mild and agreeable as in the fair- 
est October day in New York. 

During the continuance of the norther, the sky was constantly 
covered with dense gray clouds, the wind varied from N.N.E. 
to N.W., and was also of variable force. Our thermometrical 
observations wepe as follows : 

Jan. 5th, 10.30 a.m. - - C7° I 2 p.m. 47° 

10.42 " - - 55° J 4 " 42° 

6 p.m. 40° 

Jan. 6th, 7.30 a.m. 25° 

It continued at about this point during the following two 
days, when it fell (Jan. 8th, 7.30 a.m.) to 21°. 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 109 

THE COLORADO. 

Two more days' ride took us to Austin. We struck the Co- 
lorado at Bastrop — a village of considerable size and promise, 
situated on the left river bank, and at the edge of an isolated 
patch of pine timber, from which nearly all the pine lumber used 
in Western Texas is taken. 

The Colorado is the first of the clear water streams. Its still, 
limpid, blue-green surface appeared very charming, as the ferry- 
man slowly pulled us over. Its width was here some four or five 
rods. Owing to obstructions and to its irregularities of depth, 
it can scarcely be called navigable, though cotton is sometimes 
rafted down or floated in flats, and steamboats ascend in very 
high water. 

The " bottom" was here narrow, the surface rising rapidly to 
open prairie or post-oak. Along the edge of the overflowed 
bottom are some large and well-cultivated plantations. It was 
at one of these we first noticed the practice of extending 
fences over the road, compelling mail-coaches and travelers to 
seek out a new path wherever it suits them. The law in Texas 
permits this with very loose restrictions. 

The scenery along the river is agreeable, with a pleasant alter- 
nation of gently-sloping prairies and wooded creek bottoms. 
Here and there, particularly near Bastrop, is a good house and a 
rich and well-cultivated plantation. Much of the soil is of the 
heavy black character known as " hog-wallow parara," the prairie 
surface being marked with a constant succession of depressions, 
miry in wet weather and disagreeable enough in dry, from the con- 
tinual rise and fall, and consequent pitching motion, of wagon or 
horse. The road upon the sward was very indistinct, and we 
followed some wagon tracks, at twilight, two hours out of our 



110 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

way, reaching the ferry below Austin at nine o'clock in the 
evening. After some search, we found the ferry-house, but no 
one was stirring. After not a little thumping at the door, the 
ferry-man appeared, with — 
" What's the matter?" 

" Nothing in particular ; we want to cross the ferry." 
" I thought somebody must be sick ; trav'lin' at this time o' 
night." 

"Is it so extraordinary to cross the ferry in the evening 1" 
" Yes, sir, a very extraordinary thing, indeed." 

AUSTIN. 

Austin has a fine situation upon the left bank of the Colorado. 
Had it not been the capital of the state, and a sort of bourne to 
which we had looked forward for a temporary rest, it would still 
have struck us as the pleasantest place we had seen in Texas. 
It reminds one somewhat of Washington ; Washington, en petit, 
seen through a reversed glass. The Capitol — a really imposing 
building of soft cream limestone, nearly completed at the time of 
our visit, and already occupied — stands prominent upon a hill, to- 
wards which, nearly all the town rises. From it a broad avenue 
stretches to the river, lined by the principal buildings and stores. 
These are of various materials and styles, from quarried stone to 
the logs of the first settlers. Off the avenue, are scatered cot- 
tages and one or two pretty dwellings. They are altogether 
smaller in number and meaner in appearance than a stranger 
would anticipate. The capital was fixed, in fact, upon a thinly- 
settled frontier, at a point the speculative, rather than the actual, 
centre of the state. There is one little church, with a pretty 
German turret, another of stone is in process of erection, and a 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. Ill 

Governor's mansion is to be built. There is a very remarkable 
number of drinking and gambling shops, but not one book-store. 
A druggist, who keeps a small stock of books, sold us, at one 
dollar, giving his word that its cost was seventy-five cents to him- 
self, a copy of " Eagle Pass" (one of Putnam's Semi-Monthly Li- 
brary), the price of which, elsewhere, is forty cents. The popu- 
lation, at the census of 1850, was 629 ; the estimate, when we 
were there, 3,000 ; a large one, we thought. The country around 
the town is rolling and picturesque, with many agreeable views 
of distant hills and a pleasant sprinkling of w 7 ood over prairie 
slopes. 

HOTELS. 

We had reckoned upon getting some change of diet when we 
reached the capital of the state, and upon having good materials 
not utterly spoiled, by carelessness, ignorance, or nastiness, in 
cooking. We reckoned without our host. 

We arrived in a norther, and were shown, at the hotel to 
which we had been recommended, into an exceedingly dirty room, 
in which two of us slept with another gentleman, who informed 
us that it was the best room in the house. The outside door, 
opening upon the ground, had no latch, and during the night it 
was blown open by the norther, and after we had made two in- 
effectual attempts to barricade it, was kept open till morning. 
Before daylight, a boy came in and threw down an armful of 
wood by the fire-place. He appeared again, an hour or two 
afterwards, and made a fire. When the breakfast-bell rung, we 
all turned out in haste, though our boots were gone and there 
was no water. At this moment, as we were reluctantly pulling 
on our clothing, a negro woman burst into the room, leaving the 
door open, and laid a towel on the wash-table f " Here !" we 



112 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

cried, as she ran to the door again ; " bring us some water, and 
have our boots brought back." She stood half outside the door, 
and shaking her finger at us in a weird manner, replied : " Haant 
got no time, master — got fires to make and ebery ting ;" and she 
vanished. 

When finally we got to breakfast, and had offered us — but I 
will not again mention the three articles — only the " fry" had 
been changed for the worse before it was fried — we naturally be- 
gan to talk of changing our quarters and trying another of the 
hotels. Then up spoke a dark, sad man at our side — " You 
can't do better than stay here ; I have tried both the others, and 
I came here yesterday because the one I was at was too dirty!" 
And the man said this, with that leopard-skin pattern of a table- 
cloth, before him, with those grimy tools in his hands, and with 
the hostler in his frock, smelling strongly of the stable, just hand- 
ing him the (No. 3). Never did we see any wholesome food on 
that table. It was a succession of burnt flesh of swine and bulls, 
decaying vegetables, and sour and mouldy farinaceous glues, all 
pervaded with rancid butter. After a few days, we got a 
private room, and then, buying wheat-bread of a German baker, 
and other provisions of grocers, cooked what was necessary for 
ourselves, thus really coming back to caravansarism. 

We met at Austin many cultivated, agreeable and talented 
persons ; among them gentlemen whose manner of thinking on 
certain subjects, on which their opinions differed much from my 
own, greatly gratified me. With regard to slavery, for instance, 
these gentlemen, I doubt not, honestly and confidently believe 
the institution to be a beneficial one ; gradually and surely mak- 
ing the negroes a civilized and a Christian people, and paying its 
way (perhaps with handsome dividends) to the capitalists who 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 113 

are the stockholders ; that all the cruelty, or most of it, is a 
necessary part of the process, necessary at least in the present 
constitution of property and of society. The determination and 
calculation to make another Slave State of Lower California, which 
was openly expressed in their circle, did not seem to them, there- 
fore, anything at all to be regretted or disapproved of. If it 
would be profitable, it would be benevolent, they were confident. 

The only thing they feared was the injury to business which 
might occur if it should be made the occasion for another sec- 
tional excitement. This would be fanatical and deplorable. 

I fear there is some appearance of irony in what I have writ- 
ten. I did not intend it. I sincerely have a very deep respect 
for the men who think and express their thoughts in this simple 
manner. They are men of real benevolence and great talent; 
but it does seem to me circumstances have given a singular twist 
to their minds. No doubt they can see just such idiosyncrasies 
in Northern minds. 

But it was a pleasure to meet men, again, with whom such 
subjects could be looked upon from their moral side. 

LEGISLATURE. 

We visited, several times, the Texas Legislature in session, 
and have seldom been more impressed with respect for the work- 
ing of Democratic institutions. 

I have seen several similar bodies at the North ; the Federal 
Congress ; and the Parliament of Great Britain, in both its 
branches, on occasions of great moment; but none of them com- 
manded my involuntary respect for their simple manly dignity 
and trustworthiness for the duties that engaged them, more than 
the General Assembly of Texas. There was honest eloquence 



114 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

displayed at every opportunity for its use, and business was 
carried on with great rapidity, but with, complete parliamentary 
regularity, and all desirable gentlemanly decorum. One gentle- 
man, in a state of intoxication, attempted to address the house 
(but that happens elsewhere), and he was quietly persuaded to 
retire. 

THE MATERIALS OF LIVING. 

The cost of living at Austin is extraordinarily high. Subjoined 
is a list of prices of building materials, etc., and of articles of 
household use, as sold at retail : 

Pine lumber is carted from Bastrop, thirty miles. Boards are 
sold at $4 50 to $5 a hundred feet. Brick, poorly made in the 
vicinity, are sold at the kilns at $10 per M. The town stands 
upon a ledge of very soft limestone, which is worked almost as 
easily as wood. It is frequently used for building — I did not 
learn at what cost. 

Wages of negroes are higher than I have known them any- 
where else, notwithstanding some German competition in the 
labor market. The Germans complained that the labor in build- 
ing the State Capitol was advertised to be contracted for to the 
lowest bidder. Many Germans came with offers, but were under- 
bid by negro owners. After the Germans had all left town again, 
these gentlemen threw up their contracts, and new contracts 
were made with them at advanced prices. A lot of the negroes 
engaged as laborers on the Capitol, only one of them a poor me- 
chanic, were lately hired for the year at $280 each, the hirer to 
clothe and board them, etc.; field hands in the country, $190, 
clothes, etc. A negro cook, the poorest possible, I was told was 
paid $G0 a month at the hotel. Another I heard of hired at 
$G00 a year. I saw a very pretty girl, twelve years old, who 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 115 

had been bought for $G00. A first-rate white journeyman me- 
chanic commanded $50 a month and found. 

Eents — very high. A smithy, 30 by 20 feet, of brick, one 
story high, rented for $50 a month. A log shanty, the poorest 
a mechanic could think of living in, $10 a month. 

Eails, for fencing on plantations, $5 per hundred. Iron, bar, 
8c. ; nail, 9c. ; shoe, 10c. ; cast-steel, 30c. ; horse-shoeing, 75c. a 
shoe ; charcoal, 25c. a bushel ; mineral coal, none to be had ; 
wood for fuel, knotty oak, $3 a cord ; washing, $1 per dozen. 

There were thousands of cattle pasturing within sight of the 
town; but milk sold by contract, for the season, at 12:}c. a quart, 
and at retail at 15c. to 20c. Butter— Goshen, 40c. ; country 
fresh, 50c. 

Flour, $15 a barrel ; bread, of inferior flour, by German bakers, 
8c. per lb. ; corn, 50c. per bushel ; sweet potatoes, 50c. to 75c. 
a bushel ; eggs, 25c. per dozen ; crackers, 15c. per lb. ; sugar, 
crushed, 18^c. per lb. ; " Star" (New York) candles, 40c. per lb. ; 
apples, inferior, 75c. per dozen; beef, fresh, 3Jc. per lb.; pork, 
do., 6c. ; bacon, sides, 18c. ; hams, 20c. to 25c. per lb. 

Kope, Manilla half-inch line, 40c. per lb. Harness leather 
(such as is bought in New York at 20c), 40c. per lb. 

Freight is wagoned by mules and oxen from both Houston 
and Indianola, but principally from the latter place. 

AN EASTERN PLANTER. 

Before leaving Eastern Texas behind us, I must add a random 
note or two, the precise dates of which it would have been un- 
civil to indicate. 

We stopped one night at the house of a planter, now twenty 
years settled in Eastern Texas. He was a man of some educa- 



116 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tion and natural intelligence, and had, he told us, an income, 
from the labor of his slaves, of some $4,000. His residence 
was one of the largest houses we had seen in Texas. It had a 
second story, two wings and a long gallery. Its windows had 
been once glazed, but now, out of eighty panes that originally 
filled the lower windows, thirty only remained unbroken. Not 
a door in the house had been ever furnished with a latch or even 
a string ; when they were closed, it was necessary to claw or to 
ask some one inside to push open. (Yet we happened to hear a 
neighbor expressing serious admiration of the way these doors 
fitted.) The furniture was of the rudest description. 

One of the family had just had a hemorrhage of the lungs ; 
while we were at supper, this person sat between the big fire- 
place and an open outside door, having a window, too, at his 
side, in which only three panes remained. A norther was blow- 
ing, and ice forming upon the gallery outside. Next day, at 
breakfast, the invalid was unable to appear on account of a " bad 
turn." 

On our supper-table was nothing else than the eternal fry, 
pone and coffee. Butter, of dreadful odor, ;was here added by 
exception. Wheat flour they never used. It was " too much 
trouble." 

We were waited upon by two negro girls, dressed in short- 
waisted, twilled-cotton gowns, once white, now looking as 
though they had been drawn through a stove-pipe in spring. 
The water for the family was brought in tubs upon the heads of 
these two girls, from a creek, a quarter of a mile distant, this 
occupation filling nearly all their time. 

This gentleman had thirty or forty negroes, and two legiti- 
mate sons. One was an idle young man. The other was 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 117 

already, at eight years old, a swearing, tobacco-chewing young 
bully and ruffian. We heard him whipping his puppy behind 
the house, and swearing between the blows, his father and 
mother being at hand. His tone was an evident imitation of his 
father's mode of dealing with his slaves. 

" I've got an account to settle with you ; I've let you go 
about long enough ; I'll teach you who's your master ; there, 
go now, God damn you, but I havn't got through with you yet." 

"You stop that cursing," said his father, at length, "it isn't 
right for little boys to curse." 

"What do you do when you get mad?" replied the boy; 
"reckon you cuss some ; so now you'd better shut up." 

We repeatedly heard men curse white women and children in 
this style, without the least provocation. 

LITERATURE. 

In the whole journey through Eastern Texas, w r e did not see 
one of the inhabitants look into a newspaper or a book, although 
we spent days in houses where men were lounging about the fire 
without occupation. One evening I took up a paper which had 
been lying unopened upon the table of the inn where we were 
staying, and smiled to see how painfully news items dribbled 
into the Texas country papers, the loss of the tug-boat " Ajax," 
which occurred before we left New York, being here just given 
as the loss of the " splended steamer Ocax." 

A man who sat near said— 

"Keckon you've read a good deal, hain't you?" 

"Oh, yes; why?" 

" Eeckoned you had." 

" Why ?" 



118 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" You look as tliongh you liked to read. Well, it's a good 
thing. S'pose you take a pleasure in reading, don't you V 9 

" That depends, of course, on what I have to read. I suppose 
everybody likes to read when they find anything interesting to 
them, don't they f 

"No; it's damn tiresome to some folks, I reckon, any how, 
'less you've got the habit of it. Well, it's a good thing ; you 
can pass away your time so." 

FOREIGN RELATIONS. 

The sort of interest taken in foreign affairs is well enough 
illustrated by the views of a gentleman of property in Eastern 
Texas, who was sitting with us one night, " spitting in the fire," 
and talking about cotton. Bad luck he had had — only four 
bales to the hand ; couldn't account for it — bad luck ; and next 
year he didn't reckon nothing else but that there would be a 
general war in Europe, and then he'd be in a pretty fix, with 
cotton down to four cents a pound. Curse those Turks ! If he 
thought there would be a general war, he would take every 

d d nigger he'd got right down to New Orleans, and sell 

them for what they'd bring. They'd never be so high again as 
they were now, and if there should come a general war they 
wouldn't be worth half so much next year. There always were 
some infernal rascals somewhere in the world trying to prevent 
an honest man from getting a living. Oh, if they got to fight- 
ing, he hoped they'd eat each other up. They just ought to be, 
all of them — Turks, and Eussians, and Prussians, and Dutchmen, 
and Frenchmen — just be put in a bag together, and slung into 
hell. That's what he'd do with them. 

We afterwards noted a contrast when a German cotton- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 119 

farmer, beyond the Colorado, expressed to us, apropos to the 
same probable depreciation of prices of the next year, the great- 
est fear lest the sovereigns should not permit a general war to 
take place, with its chances for the peoples. There are some 
hearts that swim above prices. God bless them. 

BLACK HOUSEKEEPING. 

Eemarking, one day, at the house of a woman who was 
brought up at the North, that there was much more comfort at 
her house than any we had previously stopped at, she told us 
that the only reason that the people didn't have any comfort 
here was, that they wouldn't take any trouble to get anything. 
Anything that their negroes could make they would eat ; but 
they would take no pains to instruct them, or to get anything 
that didn't grow on the plantation. A neighbor of hers owned 
fifty cows, she supposed, but very rarely had any milk and 
scarcely ever any butter, simply because his people were too lazy 
to milk or churn, and he wouldn't take the trouble to make 
them. 

This woman entirely sustained the assertion that Northern 
people, when they come to the South, have less feeling for the 
negroes than Southerners themselves usually have. We asked 
her (she lived in a village) whether she hired or owned her ser- 
vants. They owned them all, she said. When they first came 
to Texas they hired servants, but it was very troublesome ; they 
would take no interest in anything; and she couldn't get along 
with them. Then very often their owners, on some pretext (ill- 
treatment, perhaps), would take them away. Then they bought 
negroes. It was very expensive : a good negro girl cost seven 
or eight hundred dollars, and that, we must know, was a great 



120 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

deal of money to be laid out in a thing that might lie right 
down the next day and die. They were not much better either 
than the hired servants. 

Folks up North talked about how badly the negroes were 
treated ; she wished they could see how much work her girls 
did. She had four of them, and she knew they didn't do half 
so much work as one good Dutch girl such as she used to have 
at the North. Oh ! the negroes were the laziest things in crea- 
tion ; there was no knowing how much trouble they gave to look 
after them. Up to the North, if a girl went out into the garden 
for anything, when she came back she would clean her feet, but 
these nigger girls will stump right in and track mud all over the 
house. What do they care ? They'd just as lief clean the mud 
after themselves as anything else — their time isn't any value tc 
themselves. What do they care for the trouble it gives youl 
Not a bit. And you may scold 'em and whip 'em — you nevei 
can break 'em into better habits. 

I asked what were servants' wages when they w r ere hired out 
to do housework? They were paid seven or eight dollars a 
month ; sometimes ten. She didn't use to pay her girl at the 
North but four dollars, and she knew she would do more wort 
than any six of the niggers, and not give half so much trouble 
as one. But you couldn't get any other help here but nig- 
gers. Northern folks talk about abolishing Slavery, but there 
wouldn't be any use in that ; that would be ridiculous, unless 
you could some way get rid of the niggers. Why, they'd mur- 
der us all in our beds — that's what they'd do. Why, over to 
Fannin, there was a negro woman that killed her mistress with 
an axe, and her two little ones. The people just flocked toge- 
ther, and hung her right up on the spot ; they ought to have 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 121 

piled some wood round her, and burned her to death ; that 
would have been a good lesson to the rest. We afterwards 
heard her scolding one of her girls ; the girl made some excul- 
patory reply, and getting the best of the argument, the mistress 
angrily told her if she said another word she would have two 
hundred lashes given her. She came in and remarked that if she 
hadn't felt so nervous she would have given that girl a good 
whipping herself; these niggers are so saucy, it's very trying to 
one who has to take care of them. 

Servants are, it is true, " a trial," in all lands, ages, and nations. 
But note the fatal reason this woman frankly gives for the inevi- 
table delinquencies of slave-servants, " Their time isn't any 
value to themselves !" 

The women of Eastern Texas seemed to us, in general, far 
superior to their lords. They have, at least, the tender hearts 
and some of the gentle delicacy that your " true Texan" lacks, 
whether mistresses of slaves or only of their own frying-pan. 
They are overworked, however, as soon as married, and care gives 
them thin faces, sallow complexions, and expressions either sad 
or sour. 

A NORTHERN SETTLER. 

Another night we spent at the house of a man who came 
here, when a boy, from the North. His father was a mechanic, 
and had emigrated to Texas just before the war of Independ- 
ence. He joined the army, and his son had been brought up — 
rather had grown up — Southern fashion — -with no training to 
regular industry. He had learned no trade. What need ? His 
father received some thousand acres of land in payment of his 
services. The son earned some money for himself by driving a 

team; bought cattle, took a wife, and a house, and now had 
6 



122 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

been settled six years, with a young family. He had nothing to 
do but look after his cattle, go to the nearest town and buy 
meal and coffee occasionally, and sell a few oxen when the bill 
was sent in. His house was more comfortless than nine-tenths 
of the stables of the North. There were several windows, some 
of which were boarded over, some had wooden shutters, and 
some were entirely open. The doors were closed with difficulty. 
We could see the stars, as we lay in bed, through the openings 
of the roof; and on all sides, in the walls of the room, one's 
arm might be thrust out. Yet that night the mercury fell below 
twenty-five degrees of our Fahrenheit thermometer. There was 
the standard food and beverage, placed before us night and 
morning. We asked if there was much game near him % There 
were a great many deer. He saw them every day. Did he 
shoot many 1 He never shot any ; 'twas too much trouble to 
hunt them. When he wanted " fresh," 'twas easier to go out 
and stick a hog (the very words he used). He had just corn 
enough to give our horses one feed — there was none left for the 
morning. His own horses could live well enough through the 
winter on the prairie. He made pets of his children, but was 
cross and unjust to his wife, w r ho might have been pretty, and 
was affectionate. He was without care — thoughtless, content, 
with an unoccupied mind. He took no newspaper — he read 
nothing. There was, indeed, a pile of old books which his father 
had brought from the North, but they seemed to be ail of the 
Tract Society sort, and the dust had been undisturbed upon 
them, it might have been, for many years. 

This man did have the wit to say he believed he should have 
been better off now if he had remained at the North. Think of 
the probabilities — the son of a master mechanic, with a consi- 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 123 

derable capital. Educate him where you please, in any country 
not subject to the influence of slavery, how different would have 
been his disposition, how much higher and more like those of 
a reasonable being, would have been his hopes, aims, and life. 

SLAVERY WITH A WILL. 

We were several times struck, in Eastern Texas, with a pecu- 
liarity in the tone of the relation between master and slave. 
Elsewhere at the South, slavery had seemed to be accepted 
generally, as a natural, hereditary, established state of things, 
and the right and wrong of it, or the how of it, never to be dis- 
cussed or thought of any more than that of feudal tenures else- 
where. But in Texas, the state of war in which slavery arises, 
seems to continue in undertone to the present.. 

" Damn 'em, give 'em hell," frequent expressions of the ruder 
planters towards their negroes, appeared to be used as if with a 
meaning — a threat to make their life infernal if they do not sub- 
mit abjectly and constantly. There seemed to be the conscious- 
ness of a wrong relation and a determination to face conscience 
down, and continue it; to work up the " damned niggers," with 
a sole eye to selfish profit, cash down, in this world. As to " trea- 
sures in Heaven," their life is a constant sneer at the belief in 
them. 

TEXAS AS IT USED TO BE. 

I will add no further details upon the moral and social aspect 
of Eastern Texas. Cheap as such privileges may be consider- 
ed, old Texans express, in speaking of them, great admiration 
and satisfaction. Society has certainly made a great advance 
there in becoming even what it is. The present generation has, 
peculiarly, but the faults founded upon laziness. The past, if 



124 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

we may believe report, had something worse. In fact, in the 
rapid settlement of the country, many an adventurer crossed 
the border, spurred by a love of life or liberty, forfeited at home, 
rather than drawn by the love of adventure or of rich soil. Pro- 
bably a more reckless and vicious crew was seldom gathered than 
that which peopled some parts of Eastern Texas at the time 
of its first resistance to the Mexican government. 

" G. T. T.," (gone to Texas,) was the slang appendage, within 
the reader's recollection, to every man's name who had disap- 
peared before the discovery of some rascality. Did a man emi- 
grate thither, every one was on the watch for the discreditable 
reason to turn up. 

Mr. Dewees, in his naive " Letters from Texas," thus describes 
(1831): 

" It would amuse you very much, could you hear the manner 
in which people of this new country address each other. It is 
nothing uncommon of us to inquire of a man why he ran away 
from the States ! but few persons feel insulted by such a ques- 
tion. They generally answer for some crime or other which 
they have committed ; if they deny having committed any 
crime, or say they did not run away, they are generally looked 
upon rather suspiciously. Those who come into the country at 
the present time, frequently tell us rough, ragged, old settlers, 
who have worn out our clothes and our constitutions in the 
service of the country, that they have a great deal of wealth in 
the States which they are going after, as soon as they can find a 
situation to suit them. But we, not relishing this would-be aris- 
tocracy, generally manage to play some good joke upon them in 
return. 

" One day, there were quite a number of these aristocrats, who 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 125 

seemed to think themselves better than those who were worn out 
by toil and hardships, seated at the dinner table, in a sort of 
tavern kept by a man named William Pettis, or Buck Pettis, as 
he was always called at San Felipe ; these persons 'were boast- 
ing largely of their wealth, their land, their negroes, the ships 
they had at sea, etc. There was at the table an old man by the 
name of Macfarlane, a don't care sort of a fellow, who had mar- 
ried a Mexican wife, and was living on the Brazos when we first 
came to the country. He listened to them quietly for a while, 
at length he could restrain himself no longer. ; Well, gentlemen,' 
he said, ' I, too, once commenced telling that I had left a large 
property in the States, and, in fact, gentlemen, I told the story so 
often, that at length I really believed it true, and eventually 
started to go for it. Well, I traveled on very happily till I 
reached the Sabine river which separates this country from the 
United States. On its bank I paused, and now for the first 
time, began to ask myself seriously, What am I doing I Why am 
I here ? I have no property in the States, and if I had, 
if I cross the river, 'tis at the risk of my life; for I was 
obliged to flee to this country to escape the punishment of the 
laws. I had better return, and live in safety as I have done. 
I did so, gentlemen, and since then have been contented without 
telling of the wealth I left in the States.' The relation of this 
story so exasperated these for whose benefit it was told, that they 
fell upon the old gentleman, and would have done him injury, 
had it not been for the interference of his friends. This, how- 
ever, put a stop to long yarns." 

If your life, in those times, an old settler told us, would be of 
the slightest use to any one, you might be sure he would take it, 
and it was safe only as you were in constant readiness to defend 



126 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

it. Horses and wives were of as little account as umbrellas in 
more advanced States. Everybody appropriated everything that 
suited him, running his own risk of a penalty. Justice descended 
into the body of Judge Lynch, sleeping when he slept, and 
when he woke hewing down right and left for exercise and pas- 
time. 

Out of this has come, with as much rapidity as could be ex- 
pected, by a process of gradual fermentation and admixture, the 
present society. 

LAW AND GOSPEL. 

We picked up one incident oddly illustrating the transition 
state : 

We were speaking of the probability of a further annexation 
of Mexican territory, with a road companion, upon a prairie 
near the Brazos. He was an old ranger, had made one of the 
Mier expedition, and had the fortune to draw a white bean on 
the occasion of the decimation. He had afterwards spent two 
years in Mexico, as prisoner. 

" Mexico !" said he, " what the hell do we want of it? It 
isn't worth a cuss. The people are as bigoted and ignorant as 
the devil's grandchildren. They haven't even the capacities of 
my black boy. Why, they're most as black as niggers any way, 
and ten times as treacherous. How would you like to be tried 
by a jury of Mexicans 1 You see it an't like it was with Texas. 
You go any further into Mexico with your surveyor's chains, and 
you'll get Mexicans along with your territory ; and a dam'd lot 
of 'em, too. What are you going to do with 'em 1 You can't 
drive 'em out, because there an't nowhere to drive 'em. No, sir! 
There they've got to stay, and it'll be fifty year before you can 
outvote 'em. Well, they'll elect the judges, or they'll elect the 



ROUTE ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS. 127 

legislature, and that'll appoint their judges — same thing. And 
their judges an't a going to disqualify them, you may be dam 
sure of that. But how many of 'em would pass muster for a 
jury % The whole of 'em ought to be disqualified. Just think 
of going before a jury of them. How could they understand 
evidence % They don't know the first difference between right 
and wrong, any way." 

We asked an explanation of the " disqualifying." It appear- 
ed that the Texan county courts had the power to disqualify 
citizens from serving upon juries for bad moral character, gross 
ignorance, or mental incapacity. In further explanation, he 
gave us the incident : 

The decision as to moral character, of course, rests with the 

judges. A few years ago, it happened that the bench in 

County was filled entirely by ministers of the gospel, and men 
of bigoted piety. The court, during a night session, ruled 
that no man should be considered as of good moral character, 
who was known to have drunk spirits, to have played a game of 
cards, or to have used profane language. Accordingly, the 
whole population of the county was incapacitated, except a few 
leading church members in good and regular standing. And 
though every one was glad to be rid of jury-duty, in general, 
no one liked to be classed in this way as unfit for it, and the in- 
dignation rose nearly to open riot. However, the matter was 
passed by, and nothing done until the following election, when 
the tables were turned by rigorously excluding all church mem- 
bers from the court. 

The reader who has not been there, may think our social ex- 
perience of this part of the state peculiar and exceptional. I 
can only say that we traveled on an average not more than 



128 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

fourteen miles a day, and so must have stopped at almost every 
tenth or fifteenth house on the chief emigrant and mail-road of 
the state. I have given our impressions as we received them, 
and the only advantage they now have over his own, is in the 
the strength which the reiteration of day after day gives over 
that of page after page. Had we entered Texas by the sea, 
stopped at the chief towns and the frequented hotels, traveled by 
public conveyances, and delivered letters to prominent and hos- 
pitable individuals, upon rich old coast plantations, our notes of 
the East might have had, perhaps, a more rosy tone. 



CHAP. III. 

ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 

OVER THE COLORADO. 

After spending a pleasant week in Austin, we crossed the 
Colorado, into, distinctively, Western Texas. 

The river is here too a blue green in color, and we enjoyed 
again the beauty of its placid surface and transparent depths, as 
the " flat" slowly rippled its way to the further bank. Its width 
is about a hundred yards. Not far from the ferry is a floating 
mill, erected by an enterprising German, similar to those that 
have so quaint an effect, moored in platoons by the towns upon 
the Ehine, the wheel slowly paddled by the current. Owing 
to the danger from the sudden freshets to which the stream is 
liable, and from the rafts of broken timber which come sweeping 
down, it was considered a doubtful speculation. The wooded 
bottom is narrow, and we soon came upon high prairies. 

THE WESTERN PRAIRIES. 

The impression as we emerged, strengthened by a warm, calm 

atmosphere, was very charming. The live-oaks, standing alone 

or in picturesque groups near and far upon the clean sward, 

which rolled in long waves that took, on their various slopes, 
6* 



130 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

bright light or half shadows from the afternoon sun, contributed 
mainly to an effect which was very new and striking, though still 
natural, like a happy new melody. We stopped, and, from the 
trunk of a superb old tree, preserved a sketched outline of its 
low gnarled limbs, and of the scene beyond them. 

Had we known that this was the first one of a thousand simi- 
lar scenes, that were now to charm us day after day, we should 
have, perhaps, spared ourselves the pains. We were, in fact, just 
entering a vast region, of which live-oak prairies are the charac- 
teristic. It extends throughout the greater part of Western 
Texas, as far as the small streams near San Antonio, beyond 
which the dwarf mesquit and its congeners are found. The live- 
oak is almost the only tree away from the river bottoms, and 
everywhere gives the marked features to the landscape. 

The live-oaks are often short, and even stunted in growth, 
lacking the rich vigor and full foliage of those further east. 
Occasionally, a tree is met with, which has escaped its share of 
injury from prairie burnings and northers, and has grown into a 
symmetrical and glorious beauty. But such are comparatively 
rare. Most of them are meagerly furnished with leaves, and as 
the leaf, in shape, size, and hue, has a general similarity to that of 
the olive, the distant effect is strikingly similar. As far West as 
beyond the Guadalupe, they are thickly hung with the gray 
Spanish moss, whose weird color, and slow, pendulous motions, 
harmonize peculiarly with the tone of the tree itself, especially 
where, upon the round, rocky, mountain ledges, its distorted roots 
cling, disputing a scant nourishment with the stunted grass. 

A MULE LESSON. 

At the end of an afternoon's ride, mostly over bare prairies, 
we reached Manchac Spring. A lucky accident compelled us to 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 131 

stop at the house we found there, and for once we were obliged 
to confess that quarters within were better than any canvas we 
could have set up without. B. had quitted us at Bastrop to re- 
join us at San Antonio. In passing through the thin wood upon 
the banks of a branch we started a covey of quails, and hitching 
Fanny, I went after broiled birds for supper. Mr. Brown was 
not much disposed to go on without the mare, and F. was dis- 
posed to give him a lesson in single driving for future con- 
venience. A sort of pitched tournament or ramrod-skrimmago 
ensued, in which the persevering activity of Nack and F. were 
pitted against the tortuous and obstinate movements of the 
loaded mule. F. finally came off victor ; but in the rapid coun- 
ter-marchings the horns of the pack-saddle came into violent 
contact with a low branch of live-oak, and the saddle gave way 
at one of its joints. For repairs more time would be necessary 
than we could spare from the labors of camping. 

A WELL-ORDERED PLANTATION. 

We found a plantation that would have done no discredit to 
Virginia. The house was large and well constructed, standing 
in a thick grove, separated from the prairie by a strong worm- 
fence. Adjacent, within, was the spring, which deserved its pro- 
minence of mention upon the maps. It had been tastefully grot- 
toed with heavy limestone rocks, now water-stained and mossy, 
and the pure stream came gurgling up, in impetuous gallons, to 
pour itself in a bright current out upon the prairie. The foun- 
tains of Italy were what came to mind, and " Fontana de Manci- 
occo" would have secured a more natural name. 

Everything about the house was orderly and neat. The pro- 
prietor came out to receive us, and issued orders about the horses, 



132 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

which we felt, from their quiet tone, would be obeyed, without our 
supervision. "When we were ushered into a snug supper-room 
and found a clean table set with wheat-bread, ham, tea, and pre- 
served fruits, waited on by tidy and ready girls, we could scarce 
think we had not got beyond the bounds of Texas. We were, in 
fact, quit, for some time to come, of the lazy poverty of Eastern 
Texas. 

AGRARIAN IDEAS. 

There were two or three travelers besides ourselves. The 
conversation ran upon the Germans, through whose settlements 
one, a Jerseyman, had just passed. The " Dutch" he had seen 
at the North, he said, were very different from those of this coun- 
try. There, they were honest and industrious, and minded their 
business. Here, they didn't appear to have any business. They 
were thieves and loafers, and nothing better than a " set of regu- 
lar damn'd agrarians." All joined in these denunciations, which 
appeared to afford them relief, though founded, so far as they 
could show us, on mere prejudice. The master of the house was 
not backward, and intimated that he refused them fire and water 
as outlaws and barbarians, whenever he had the opportunity. 
" Agrarianism," a strange charge for such a country and place, 
we reflected, probably meant free-laborism and abolitionism, but 
did not push investigations. 

APPROACH TO THE GERMANS. 

On entering Texas we had been so ignorant as not to know 
that there were larger settlements of Germans there than in any 
other Southern State. We had met about the usual number of 
German traders in the Eastern towns, and once had heard that 
there were a large number settled at San Antonio. At Bastrop. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 133 

at a watchmaker's shop, I had seen, with surprise, a German 
newspaper, the San Antonio Zeitung of the week previous, and 
found that it contained more news of matters of general interest 
than all the American Texan papers I had come across since en- 
tering the state. 

In Austin, we learned from Governor Pease and other acquaint- 
ances familiar with our route, that we should reach, in a day or 
two, the German settlements, and pass through, in fact, a Ger- 
man village of considerable size — Neu Braunfels. We inquired 
with a good deal of interest as to the condition and social rela- 
tions of the Germans, and learned, from the same sources, that 
the great part of them were exceedingly poor, but that, as a body, 
they were thriving. As to slavery, as fast as they acquired pro- 
perty, they followed the customs of the country and purchased 
slaves, like other white people, even Northern men, who invariably 
conquered their prejudices when they came here to settle and found 
their practical inconvenience. However, no one could give us 
any precise information about the Germans, and we had not the 
least idea that they were so numerous, and had so important a 
position in Western Texas, until we reached them, a day or two 
after this. 

AGRICULTURAL. 

Our host was a man of accurate information in agricultural 
matters. He told us he was now (January 14) beginning to 
plough for his spring crops. Corn is planted usually in the mid- 
dle of February. He planted cotton in May, and even in June, 
as there was no danger of its not maturing here as in the East- 
ern and Northern cotton states, and its growth is more rapid, if 
not exposed when young to checks from cold. This is much 
later than is customary ; but the time varies, with the amount 



134 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and the period of rain of eacli season. Corn, he told us, was 
killed here if touched by frost after it is sprouted. 

The prairie is broken by huge ploughs, drawn by six yoke of 
oxen, turning a sod thirty-two inches wide and four inches deep. 
He thought it better policy to use a smaller plough, drawn by 
two or three yoke of oxen, and in breaking fresh prairie to turn 
a shallow furrow. The old sod, when turned deep under, rots 
much more slowly, and remains a long time an impediment to 
cultivation. These great ploughs have two clumsy wheels at- 
tached, and once set in furrow need no other guidance. His own 
had a mould-board the hinder part of which was made of iron- 
rods, for lightness and strength. It acted like a coarse screen, 
and was said to answer well.* 

THE GROUND AND ATMOSPHERE. 

Leaving Manchac Spring, our road led us across a bleak open 
prairie, on whose rolls stood no house, and scarce a tree, for fif- 
teen miles. At our right, to the north, was a range of distant 



* At this house, where everything was extremely neat, and where we had sil- 
ver cups for drinking, there was no other water-closet than the back of a bush 
or the broad prairie — an indication of a queerly Texan incompleteness in culti- 
vation of manners. 

From something a German gentleman afterwards told us, it would appear 
that water-closets are of recent introduction in Texas. He had lived some 

time in the town of S , then quite a large settlement, before he had time to 

erect one of thofie little social necessaries. Though the first to do so, he had no 
idea that it was a matter of interest to any other person than himself; but no 
sooner did it appear, than he was assailed for indecency, and before he well 
knew on what account, his edifice was torn down and dragged away by a noc- 
turnal mob. He shortly rebuilt it. It again disappeared on the sly. Nothing 
daunted, he caused a third to be put up, and as the thing was founded on a 
real want in human nature, it took, and two or three others appeared. Nothing 
further occurred until the following Christmas, when the whole number in the 
town, now twelve or fifteen, were found drawn up in a line upon the public 
square. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 135 

bills, from which orchards of live-oak occasionally stretched to 
within a moderate distance of us. 

While riding slowly, we saw some white objects on a hill be- 
fore us. We could not make them out distinctly, and resorted 
to "the spy-glass. " Sheep," said one. " Cattle," said the 
other. As we rode on, we slowly approached. " Yes, sheep," 
said one. " Decidedly not sheep," said the other. Suddenly, 
one of the objects raises a long neck and head. " Llamas — or 
alpacas." " More like birds, I think." Then all the objects 
raise heads, and begin to walk away, upon two legs. "What! 
ostriches % Yes, ostriches, or something unknown to my eye." 
We were now within four or five hundred yards of them. Sud- 
denly, they raised wings, stretched out their necks, and ran over 
the prairie, but presently left ground, and flew away. They 
were very large white birds, with black-edged wings, and very 
long necks and legs. They must have been a species of crane, 
very much magnified by a refraction of the atmosphere. 

MESQUIT GRASS. 

A great change occurred here in the prairie grass — we had 
reached the mesquil grass, of which we had heard much through- 
out Eastern Texas. The grass of the Eastern prairies is coarse 
and sedgy, like that of rank, moist, outlying spots in New Eng- 
land. Where not burned, it lay, killed by the frost, in a thick, 
matted bed upon the ground. Our animals showed no disposi- 
tion to eat it. This mesquit they eat eagerly as soon as we 
came upon it, as if it were an old acquaintance. It is a fine, 
short grass, growing with great vigor and beauty over the West- 
ern prairies. It is usually found in very thick tufts and patches, 
interspersed with other grasses, but in the San Antonio river dis- 



136 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

trict covers the whole surface. It is extremely nutritious and 
palatable to cattle, horses, and sheep, and has the very great ad- 
vantage of preserving its sweetness, to a certain degree, through 
the winter. The usual frosts, perhaps owing to the closeness of 
its growth, do not kill it to the ground, the lower parts of its 
leaves and stem retaining a slight verdure, unless burned over, 
until new leaves shoot out in spring. It is this which gives the 
prairies of Western Texas their great superiority, as a pasture 
ground, over those of the central and eastern parts of the state, 
and mark it as forever a pastoral country, whatever, in other 
respects, be its future. 

SAN MARCOS. 

At noon we forded the Blanco, the principal branch of the San 
Marcos river, a bright, clear, rapid stream. 

In its bottoms and those of the San Marcos (which rises from 
a single spring a few miles west) are said to lie the best lands 
of Texas. Ward mentions that, as long ago as 1804, the banks 
of the main stream were selected for a Spanish colony, on ac- 
count of their surpassing fertility. I have never seen a district 
whose soil seemed to me so rich. It was like a fine garden com- 
post, in which black vegetable mould, clay, and lime had been 
equally mixed. The few cotton fields we passed were still white. 
Not more than half the product seemed to have been picked. 

The difficulty, however, which will go far to prevent this from 
becoming a great enslaved planting country, was again brought 
to our notice by complaints of the loss of negroes, who were sup- 
posed to have fled to Mexico. Another difficulty which the 
planter has here to encounter, is the scarcity of timber, and of all 
materials suitable to fencing purposes. Very strong and high 
fences are required to resist the charges of the half wild cattle 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 137 

and horses of the prairies. Wire fences are sometimes used, but 
are expensive, if well made, and very few planters have the 
patience or enterprise to make trial of hedges. 

We were told that two bales and a half of cotton had been 
sometimes picked here from an acre. Owing to the freedom of 
the new soil from weeds, much less labor is required than in old 
settled countries. One hand is said to be able to tend twenty- 
acres of corn and ten of cotton. If the ground have been well 
prepared corn requires but two ploughings after planting, and 
will yield, one year with another, fifty bushels to the acre. It is 
admitted that, to take care of thirty acres, a hand must be hard 
worked ; but it is said to be often done. In Virginia, ten acres 
of corn per hand is considered a good allowance. 

San Marcos was a town of about three shabby houses. Beyond 
it our road approached closely the hill-range, which is made 
up of spurs coming down from mountains North. They are 
well wooded with cedar and live-oak. With such a shelter from 
the northers and such a soil, it is no wonder that the settlers are 
numerous. We passed a house perhaps every mile, beyond San 
Marcos, and, in general, they were of a better character than we 
had seen anywhere before, unless in the neighborhood of Bastrop 
or Austin. The workmanship applied to farming and the crops 
resulting, appeared to have been also much better. 

We pitched our tent at night in a live-oak grove, by the side 
of a deep pure spring, at the mouth of a wooded ravine closed by 
rugged hills toward the north. Behind us were the continuous 
wooded heights, with a thick screen of cedars ; before us, very 
beautiful prairies, rolling off far to the southward, with the 
smooth grassed surface, varied here and there by herds of cattle, 
and little belts, mottes and groups of live-oak. The cactus, 



138 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



growing rank, tortuous, and grotesquely hideous, and the " yucca," 
or " Spanish bayonet," here «a low clump of sharp-pointed stiff, 
tusk-like leaves, indicated our gradual approach to Mexico. 

The night was oppressively warm. After breakfast a sudden 
black cloud rose in the North, and with incredible swiftness and 
a frightful roar spread over the heavens. The cattle came run- 
ning headlong for the cover, and we hurried everything under 
the tent, expecting a deluge of rain. It was only wind — a north- 
er. An immense change took place at once in the temperature, 
the thermometer indicating a fall of 15° in fifteen minutes, and 
the furious wind gave a cutting effect, which was most severe. 
The following were the temperatures observed ; 



Jan. 16. 9.52 


A.M. 


- - 72° 


Ther. 


Jan.16 


10.39 a.m. 


- - 51° Ther. 


" 9.54 


tt 


- - 70° 


u 


a 


11.27 " 


. . 470 tt 


" 9.56 


a 


- - 68° 


a 


it 


12.00 " 


- - 45° " 


" 9.58 


tt 


- - 66° 


a 


a 


9.30 p.m. 


- - 39° " 


" 10.00 


a 


- - 64° 


a 


Jao.17. 10.30 a.m. 


- - 39° " 


" 10.02 


tt 


- - 62° 


a 


a 


1.00 p.m. 


- - 49° " 


" 10.06 


" 


- - 58° 


it 


tt 


3.15 " 


- - 57° " 


" 10.10 


" 


- - 56° 


a 


u 


5.00 " 


- - 57° " 


" 10.16 


tt 


- - 54^ 


) tt 


a 


9.30 " 


- - 48° " 



A NEIGHBOR OF THE GERMANS. 

We had applied for corn at a house not far from camp. The 
family were at supper. 

" I wished," said I, " to inquire if I could get some corn of 
you?" 

" I reckon you might." 

" I won't trouble you to leave your supper." 

"No trouble." 

Out comes the proprietor, leaving a strong negro to wait upon 
the table. He was a young man, but had been settled for seve- 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 139 

ral years at this place. He informed us that we should be among 
the German settlers in the first hour of our next day's ride. We 
anxiously made inquiries to ascertain what his experience had 
been with regard to the character of the Germans ; for we had 
obtained, from the short intercourse we had enjoyed with this 
people in their native land, such a kind regard for them that we 
were yet unwilling to trust the fairness of the judgment of them, 
which the American Texans seemed to have formed. We were 
immediately surprised and gratified by his answers. He seemed 
to have had no reason at all to think of them as bad neighbors, but 
as extremely useful and valuable ones. Their mechanics worked 
cheaply, steadily and excellently. Their teamsters frequently 
camped within twenty rods of his house ; he had no complaints 
to make of them at all. They had been very honest and trust- 
worthy in their dealings with him. 

" But I understand," said I, " that they are in a rather 
wretched condition, and are hardly able to get their living in this 
country." 

" Why, the most of them seem to be very poor people," said 
he, " but they are getting along very well, I should think, for 
poor folks ; they are every year improving about their houses 
and building new houses which are more comfortable than the 
old ones, and they work their little pieces of land first-rate. I 
reckon those that had a good deal of money when they came 
out, have a good many of them got poor. You see they did 
not come here expecting to do anything to make money by, but 
because they thought they could live a good deal cheaper here 
than in the old country. Well, they don't know how to give. up 
their old habits, and they think they must have their wine to 
drink, and so on, as they have been used to ; and it used to cost 



140 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

them a dime a bottle, they say, there, and here it costs four bits, 
and I reckon a good many have got poor that way. But the 
people that came here poor must be getting along very well — at 
any rate they say so, and it looks so." 

" I am told that they buy negroes as fast as they get money 
enough to be able to." 

Yes, he reckoned they did. How many of them owned ne- 
groes, that he knew ? He couldn't tell. Were there a hundred? 
Oh, no. Were there ten? No, not more than five. And I 
supposed he knew some hundreds of them t Yes, he knew more 
than a thousand, he thought, that did not own slaves. 

GERMAN FARMS. 

The country, next morning, continued the same in all respects 
as that of the day before. The first German settlers we saw, we 
knew at once. They lived in little log cabins, and had inclo- 
sures of ten acres of land about them. The cabins were very 
simple and cheap habitations, but there were many little conve- 
niences about them, and a care to secure comfort in small ways 
evident, that was very agreeable to notice. So, also, the greater 
variety of the crops which had been grown upon their allotments, 
and the more clean and complete tillage they had received con- 
trasted favorably with the patches of corn-stubble, overgrown 
with crab-grass, which are usually the only gardens to be seen 
adjoining the cabins of the poor whites and slaves. The people 
themselves were also to be seen, men, women, and children, busy 
at some work, and yet not so busy but that they could give a 
pleasant and respectful greeting to the passing traveler. 

A few miles further on, we passed several much more comfort- 
able houses, boarded over, and a good deal like the smaller class 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 141 

of farm-houses in New England, but some of them having exte- 
rior plaster-work, or brick, laid up between the timbers, instead 
of boards nailed over them. About these were larger inclosures, 
from which extensive crops of corn had been taken ; and it 
caused us a sensation to see a number of parallelograms of cot- 
ton- — free-labor cotton. These were not often of more than 
an acre in extent. Most of them looked as if they had been 
judiciously cultivated, and had yielded a fine crop, differing, 
however, from that we had noticed on the plantations the day 
before, in this circumstance — the picking had been entirely 
completed, and that with care and exactness, so that none of the 
cotton, which the labor of cultivation had produced, had been 
left to waste. The cotton-stalks stood rather more closely, and 
were of less extraordinary size, but much more even or regular 
in their growth than on the plantations. 

A FREE-MINDED BUTCHER. 

We were entering the valley of the Guadalupe river, which 
is of the same general character as that of the San Marcos, and 
had passed a small brown house with a turret and cross upon it, 
which we learned was a Lutheran church, when we were over- 
taken by a good-natured butcher, who lived in Neu-Braunfeis, 
whence he had ridden out early in the morning to kill and dress 
the hogs of one of the large farmers. He had finished his job, 
and was returning. 

He had been in this country eight years. He liked it very 
much ; he did not wish to go back to Germany ; he much pre- 
ferred to remain here. The Germans, generally, were doing 
well, and were contented. They had had a hard time at first, 
but they were all doing well now — getting rich. He knew 



142 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

but one German who had bought a slave ; they did not think 
well of slavery ; they thought it better that all men should 
be free ; besides, the negroes would not work so Well as the 
Germans. They were improving their condition very rapidly, 
especially within the last two years. It was sickly on the coast, 
but here it was very healthy. He had been as well here as he 
was in Germany — never had been ill. There were Catholics and 
Protestants among them ; as for himself, he was no friend to 
priests, whether Catholic or Protestant. He had had enough of 
them in Germany. They could not tell him anything new, and 
he never went to any church. 

We forded, under his guidance, the Guadalupe, and after 
climbing its high bank, found ourselves upon the level plateau 
between the prairie hills and the river on which Neu-Braunfels is 
situated. We had still nearly a mile to ride before entering the 
town, and in this distance met eight or ten large wagons, each 
drawn by three or four pairs of mules, or five or six yokes of 
oxen, each carrying under its neck a brass bell. They were all 
driven by Germans, somewhat uncouthly but warmly and neatly 
dressed ; all smoking and all good-humored, giving us " good 
morning" as we met. Noticing the strength of the wagons, I 
observed that they were made by Germans, probably. 

" Yes," said the butcher, " the Germans make better wagons 
than the Americans ; the Americans buy a great many of them. 
There (<re seven wagon-manufactories in Braunfels." 

NEU-BRAUNFELS. 

The main street of the town, which we soon entered upon, was 
very wide — three times as wide, in effect, as Broadway in New 
York. The houses, with which it was thickly lined on each side 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 143 

for a mile, were small, low cottages, of no pretensions to ele- 
gance, yet generally looking neat and comfortable. Many were 
furnished with verandahs and gardens, and the greater part were 
either stuccoed or painted. There were many workshops of 
mechanics and small stores, with signs oftener in English than 
in German ; and bare-headed women, and men in caps and short 
jackets, with pendent pipes, were everywhere seen at work. 

AN EVENING FAR FROM TEXAS. 

We had no acquaintance in the village, and no means of in- 
troduction, but, in hopes that we might better satisfy ourselves 
of the condition of the people, we agreed to stop at an inn and 
get dinner, instead of eating a cold snack in the saddle, without 
stopping at noon, as was our custom. "Here," said the butcher, 
" is my shop — indicating a small house, at the door of which hung 
dressed meat and beef sausages — and if you are going to stop, 
I will recommend you to my neighbor, there, Mr. Schmitz." It 
was a small cottage of a single story, having the roof extended so 
as to form a verandah, with a sign swinging before it, " Guada- 
lupe Hotel, J. Schmitz." 

I never in my life, except, perhaps, in awakening from a 
dream, met with such a sudden and complete transfer of associa- 
tions. Instead of loose boarded or hewn log walls, with crevices 
stuffed with rags or daubed with mortar, which we have been 
accustomed to see during the last month, on staving in a door, 
where we have found any to open ; instead, even, of four 
bare, cheerless sides of whitewashed plaster, which we have 
found twice or thrice only in a more aristocratic American resi- 
dence, we were — in short, we were in Germany. 

There was nothing wanting ; there was nothing too much, for 



144 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

one of those delightful little inns which the pedestrian who has 
tramped through the Rhine land will ever remember gratefully. 
A long room, extending across the whole front of the cottage, 
the walls pink, with stenciled panels, and scroll ornaments in 
crimson, and with neatly-framed and glazed pretty lithographic 
prints hanging on all sides ; a long, thick, dark oak table, with 
rounded ends, oak benches at its sides ; chiseled oak chairs ; a 
sofa, covered with cheap pink calico, with a small vine pattern ; 
a stove in the corner ; a little mahogany cupboard in another 
corner, with pitcher and glasses upon it ; a smoky atmosphere ; 
and finally, four thick-bearded men, from whom the smoke pro- 
ceeds, who all bow and say " Good morning," as we lift our hats 
in the doorway. 

The landlady enters ; she does not readily understand us, and 
one of the smokers rises immediately to assist us. Dinner we 
shall have immediately, and she spreads the white cloth at an end 
of the table, before she leaves the room, and in two minutes' 
time, by which we have got off our coats and warmed our hands 
at the stove, we are asked to sit down. An excellent soup is 
set before us, and in succession there follow two courses of meat, 
neither of them pork, and neither of them fried, two dishes of 
vegetables, salad, compote of peaches, coffee with milk, wheat 
bread from the loaf, and beautiful and sweet butter — not only 
such butter as I have never tasted south of the Potomac before, 
but such as I have been told a hundred times it was impossible 
to make in a southern climate. What is the secret? I suppose 
it is extreme cleanliness, beginning far back of where cleanliness 
usually begins at the South, and careful and thorough working. 

We then spent an hour in conversation with the gentlemen 
who were in the room. Thev were all educated, cultivated. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 145 

well-bred, respectful, kind, and affable men. All were natives of 
Germany, and bad been living several years in Texas. Some of 
them were travelers, their homes being in other German settle- 
ments ; some of them had resided long at Braunfels. 

It was so very agreeable to meet such men again, and the ac- 
count they gave of the Germans in Texas was so interesting and 
gratifying, that we were unwilling to immediately continue our 
journey, We went out to look at our horses ; a man in cap and. 
jacket was rubbing their legs — the first time they had received 
such attention in Texas, except from ourselves, or by special and 
costly arrangement with a negro. They were pushing their noses 
into racks filled with fine mesquit hay — the first they had 
had in Texas. They seemed to look at us imploringly. We 
ought to spend the night. But there is evidently no sleeping- 
room for us in the little inn. They must be full. But then W6 
could sleep with more comfort on the floor here, probably, than 
we have been accustomed to of late. We concluded to ask if 
they could accommodate us for the night. Yes, with pleasure — 
would we be pleased to look at the room they could afford us? 
Doubtless in the cock-loft. No, it was in another little cottage 
in the rear. A little room it proved, with blue walls again, and 
oak furniture ; two beds, one of them would be for each of us — 
the first time we had been offered the luxury of sleeping alone in 
Texas ; two large windows with curtains, and evergreen roses 
trained over them on the outside — not a pane of glass missing 
or broken — the first sleeping-room we have had in Texas where 
this was the case ; a sofa ; a bureau, on which were a complete 
set of the Conversations Lexicon ; Kendall's Santa Fe Expedi- 
tion ; a statuette in porcelain ; plants in pots ; a brass study 

lamp ; a large ewer and basin for washing, and a couple of tow- 

7 



146 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

els of thick stuff, full a yard and a quarter long. 0, yes, it will 
do for us admirably ; we will spend the night. 

In the afternoon, we called upon the German Protestant cler- 
gyman, who received us kindly, and, though speaking little 
English, was very ready to give all the information he could 
about his people, and the Germans in Texas generally. We 
visited some of the workshops, and called on a merchant to 
ascertain the quality and amount of the cotton grown by the 
Germans in the neighborhood. At supper, we met a dozen or 
more intelligent people, and spent the later evening, with several 
others, at the residence of one of our accidental inn acquaint- 
ances. 

I will simply remark here, that the facts learned from these 
gentlemen, confirmed the simple good'accounts of the butcher. 

As I was returning to the inn, about ten o'clock, I stopped for 
a few moments at the gate of one of the little cottages, to listen 
to some of the best singing I have heard for a long time, seve- 
ral parts being sustained by very sweet and well-trained voices. 

In the day time, I saw in the public street, at no great distance 
from a school-house, a tame doe, with a band on its neck, to dis- 
tinguish it from the wild deer, lest it should be shot by sportsmen. 
It was exceedingly beautiful, and so tame that it allowed me to 
approach, and licked my hand. In what Texan town, through 
which we have passed before, could this have occurred. 

In the morning we found that our horses had been bedded, for 
the first time in Texas. 

As we rode out of town, it was delightful to meet again troops 
of children, with satchels and knapsacks of books, and little ket- 
tles of dinner, all with ruddy, cheerful faces, the girls especially 
so, with their hair braided neatly, and without caps or bonnets, 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 147 

smiling and saluting us — " guten morgen" — as we met. Nothing 
so pleasant as that in Texas before, hardly in the South. 

Such was our first encounter with the Germans in Texas. 
Chance afterwards threw us in the way of seeing much more of 
them ; but I have preferred to preserve the order of time and give 
now simply these first notes, that the reader who follows i\s 
may receive our succession of impressions. 

THE SAN ANTONIO ROAD. 

We had hardly left the town, which is straggling thickly to 
the westward and merges, by degrees, its town-lots into ten-acre 
homesteads and small farms, when one of our table companions 
came up on the road behind us, also on his way to San Antonio. 
He joined us, by our invitation, and though we found some diffi- 
culty in mutual comprehension, added much to our pleasure and 
information. 

The distance to San Antonio, by the shortest road, is about 
thirty miles. The old road follows up a creek bottom, and houses, 
sheltered by live-oaks, stand thick along it, each in the centre of 
a little farm, having a broad open range of pasture before it. 
We left these and the hills beyond them, to the right, and went 
in a straight course out upon the open prairies. The grass had, 
in many places, been recently burned, giving the country a deso- 
lated surface of dead black monotony. 

The trees were live-oaks and even these very rare. The ground- 
swells were long, and so equal in height and similar in form, as 
to bring to mind a tedious sea voyage, where you go plodding on, 
slow houf after slow hour, without raising a single object to at- 
tract the eye. 

At noon we crossed the Cibolo (pronounced by Texans " Se- 



148 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

willa"), a creek which has the freak of here and there disappearing 
in its course for miles, leaving its bed dry, except daring freshets. 
Here were several settlements, almost the only ones on the day's 
route. Not very far away, however, are, in several places, Ger- 
mans, who have built neat stone houses out upon the prairie 
away from any running water, depending entirely upon wells. 

Seven miles from San Antonio we passed the Salado, another 
smaller creek, and shortly after, rising a hill, saw the domes and 
white clustered dwellings of San Antonio below us. We stopped 
and gazed long on the sunny scene. 

The city is closely-built and prominent, and lies basking on 
the edge of a vast plain, through which the river winds slowly 
off beyond where the eye can reach. To the east are gentle 
slopes toward it ; to the north a long gradual sweep upward to 
the mountain country, which comes down within five or six miles ; 
to the south and west, the open prairies, extending almost level 
to the coast, a hundred and fifty miles away. 

There is little wood to be seen in this broad landscape. Along 
the course of the river a thin edging appears, especially around 
the head of the stream, a short ride above the city. Elsewhere, 
there is only limitless grass and thorny bushes. 

These last, making chapparal, we saw as we went further on, for 
the first time. A few specimens of mesquit (algarobbia glandu- 
losa) had been pointed out to us ; but here the ground shortly 
became thickly covered with it. This shrub forms one of the 
prominent features of Texas, west of San Antonio. It is a short 
thin tree of the locust tribe, whose branches are thick set with 
thorns, and bears, except in this respect, a close resemblance to a 
straggling, neglected peach-tree. Mixed with other shrubs of a 
like prickly nature, as an undergrowth, it frequently forms, over 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 149 

acres together, an impenetrable mass. When the tree is old, its 
trunk and roots make an excellent fire-wood ; but for other pur- 
poses it is almost useless, owing to its bent and tortuous fibre. 
A great value is said to lie in its gum, which, if properly secured, 
has been pronounced equal to gum-arabic in utility. 

By a wall of these thorns the road is soon closed in. Almost 
all the roads of entrance are thus lined, and so the city bristles 
like the porcupine, with a natural defense. Eeaching the level, 
we shortly came upon the first house, which had pushed out and 
conquered a bit of the chapparal. Its neighbor was opposite, 
and soon the street closed in. 

The singular composite character of the town is palpable at 
the entrance. For five minutes the houses were evidently Ger- 
man, of fresh square -cut blocks of creamy- white limestone, mostly 
of a single story and humble proportions, but neat, and thoroughly 
roofed and finished. Some were furnished with the luxuries of 
little bow- windows, balconies, or galleries. 

From these we enter the square of the Alamo. This is all 
Mexican. Windowless cabins of stakes, plastered with mud and 
roofed with river-grass, or " tula ;" or low, windowless, but bet- 
ter thatched, houses of adobes (gray, unburnt bricks), with groups 
of brown idlers lounging at their doors. 

The principal part of the town lies within a sweep of the river 
upon the other side. We descend to the bridge, which is close 
down upon the water, as the river, owing to its peculiar source, 
never varies in height or temperature. We irresistibly stop to 
examine it, we are so struck with its beauty. It is of a rich blue 
and pure as crystal, flowing rapidly but noiselessly over pebbles 
and between reedy banks. One could lean for hours over the 
bridge-rail. 



150 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

From the bridge we enter Commerce street, the narrow prin- 
cipal thoroughfare, and here are American houses, and the triple 
nationalities break out into the most amusing display, till we 
reach the main plaza. The sauntering Mexicans prevail on the 
pavements, but the bearded Germans and the sallow Yankees 
furnish their proportion. The signs are German by all odds, 
and perhaps the houses, trim-built, with pink window-blinds. 
The American dwellings stand back, with galleries and jalou- 
sies and a garden picket-fence against the walk, or rise, next 
door, in three-story brick to respectable city fronts. The Mexi- 
can buildings are stronger than those we saw before, but still of 
all sorts, and now put to all sorts of new uses. They are all 
low, of adobe or stone, washed blue and yellow, with flat roofs 
close down upon their single story. Windows have been knock- 
ed in their blank walls, letting the sun into their dismal vaults, 
and most of them are stored with dry goods and groceries, which 
overflow around the door. Around the plaza are American 
hotels, and new glass-fronted stores, alternating with sturdy bat- 
tiemented Spanish walls, and confronted by the dirty, grim, old 
stuccoed stone cathedral, whose cracked bell is now clunking for 
vespers, in a tone that bids us no welcome, as more of the in- 
truding race who have caused all this progress, on which its 
traditions, like its imperturbable dome, frown down. 

SAN ANTONIO. 

We have no city, except, perhaps, New Orleans, that can vie, 
in point of the picturesque interest that attaches to odd and an- 
tiquated foreignness, with San Antonio. Its jumble of races, 
costumes, languages and buildings ; its religious ruins, holding 
to an antiquity, for us, indistinct enough to breed an unaccus- 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 151 

tomed solemnity ; its remote, isolated, outposted situation, and 
the vague conviction that it is the first of a new class of con- 
quered cities into whose decaying streets our rattling life is to be 
infused, combine with the heroic touches in its history to enliven 
and satisfy your traveler's curiosity. 

Not suspecting the leisure we were to have to examine it at 
our ease, we set out to receive its impressions while we had the 
opportunity. 

After drawing, at the Post-office window, our personal share 
of the dear income of happiness divided by that department, we 
strolled, by moonlight, about the streets. They are laid out 
with tolerable regularity, parallel with the sides of the main 
plaza, and are pretty distinctly shared among the nations that 
use them. On the plaza and the busiest streets, a surprising 
number of old Mexican buildings are converted, by trowel, paint- 
brush, and gaudy carpentry, into drinking-places, always labeled 
" Exchange," and conducted on the New Orleans model. About 
these loitered a set of customers, sometimes rough, sometimes 
affecting an " exquisite" dress, by no means attracting to a 
nearer acquaintance with themselves or their haunts. Here and 
there was a restaurant of a quieter look, where the traditions of 
Paris are preserved under difficulties by the exiled Gaul. 

The doors of the cabins of the real natives stood open wide, 
if indeed they exist at all, and many were the family pictures 
of jollity or sleepy comfort they displayed to us as we sauntered 
curious about. The favorite dress appeared to be a dishabille, and 
a free-and-easy, loloppy sort of life generally, seemed to have 
been adopted as possessing, on the whole, the greatest advantages 
for a reasonable being. The larger part of each family appeared 
to be made up of black-eyed, olive girls, full of animation of 



152 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tongue and glance, but sunk in a soft embonpoint, which added 
a somewhat extreme good-nature to their charms. Their dresses 
seemed lazily reluctant to cover their plump persons, and their 
attitudes were always expressive of the influences of a Southern 
sun upon national manners. The matrons, dark and wrinkled, 
formed a strong contrast to their daughters, though, here and 
there, a fine cast of feature, and a figure erect with dignity, at- 
tracted the eye. The men lounged in roundabouts and oigaritos, 
as was to be expected, and, in fact, the whole picture lacked no- 
thing that is Mexican. 

Daylight walks about the town yielded little more to curiosity. 
The contrast of nationalities remained the chief interest. The 
local business is considerable, but carried on without subdivision 
of occupation. Each of a dozen stores offers all the articles 
you may ask for. A druggist or two, a saddler or two, a watch- 
maker and a gunsmith ply almost the only distinct trades. The 
country supplied from this centre is extensive, but very thinly 
settled. The capital owned here is quite large. The principal 
accumulations date from the Mexican war, when no small part 
of the many millions expended by Government were disbursed 
here in payment to contractors. Some prime cuts were secured 
by residents, and no small portion of the lesser pickings re- 
mained in their hands. Since then the town has been well-to-do, 
and consequently accumulates a greater population than its posi- 
tion in other respects would justify. 

The traffic, open and illicit, across the frontier with interior 
Mexico, has some importance and returns some bulky bags of 
silver. All the principal merchants have their agencies on the 
Eio Grande, and throw in goods, and haul out dollars, as oppor- 
tunity serves. The transportation of their goods forms the 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 153 

principal support of the Mexican population. It is this trade, 
probably, which accounts for the large stocks which are kept, and 
the large transactions that result, beyond the strength of most 
similar towns. 

All goods are brought from Matagorda Bay, a distance of 150 
miles, by ox-teams, moving with prodigious slowness and irregu- 
larity. In a favorable season, the freight-price is one-and-a-quar- 
ter cents per lb., from Lavacca. Prices are extremely high, and 
subject to great variations, depending upon the actual supply, and 
the state of the roads. 

Cash is sometimes extremely scarce in the town. The Mexi- 
can dollars are sent forward to a good market. Government 
brings its army-stores direct from the coast. But some hay, corn, 
and other supplies, are contracted for in the region, and from this 
source, and from the leavings of casual travelers, and new emi- 
grants, the hard money for circulation is derived. Investments 
at present are mostly in lands. There are no home-exports of 
the least account. Pecan-nuts, and a little coarse wool, are 
almost the only items of the catalogue. The wealth and steady 
growth of the town depend almost entirely upon the rapid set- 
tlement of the adjacent country. 

A scanty congregation attends the services of the battered old 
cathedral. The Protestant church attendance can almost be 
counted upon the fingers. Sunday is pretty rigidly devoted to 
rest, though most of the stores are open to all practical purposes, 
and the exchanges keep up a brisk distribution of stimulants. 
The Germans and Mexicans have their dances. The Americans 
<resort to fast horses for their principal recreation. 

We noticed, upon a ruined wall, the remains of a placard, 

which illustrates at the same time a Yankee shrewdness in devot- 

7* 



154 - A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ing a day to grief, without actual loss of time, and the social 

manners of the people : 

" Resolutions on the death of The Hon. Daniel 'Webster." 

" Be it resolved by the Board of Aldermen of the city of San 
Antonio, in Common Council assembled, that, by the death of the late 
Daniel Webster, the people are plunged in mourning, and in testimonial 
of our grief, we sincerely join with other cities and towns of our 
country in requesting a suspension of labor, and the closing of all places 
of business, on Sunday, the 10th inst., from 10 o'clock a.m. to 4 
o'clock p. m., and that all the flags in the city be displayed at half-mast, 
and minute guns fired through the day." 

The town of San Antonio was founded in 1730 by a colony 
of twelve families of pure Spanish blood, from the Canary 
islands. The names of the settlers are perpetuated to this day, 
by existing families, which have descended from each, such 
as Garcia, Flores, Navarro, Garza, Yturri, Kodriquez. The 
original mission and fort of San Antonio de Yalero dates from 
1715, when Spain established her occupancy of Texas. 

THE MISSIONS. 

Not far from the city, along the river, are these celebrated re- 
ligious establishments. They are of a similar character to the 
many scattered here and there over the plains of Northern Mexi- 
co and California, and bear a solid testimony to the strangely 
patient courage and zeal of the old Spanish fathers. They push- 
ed off alone into the heart of a savage and unknown country, 
converted the cruel brutes that occupied it, not only to nominal 
Christianity, but to actual hard labor, and persuaded and com- 
pelled them to construct these ponderous but rudely splendid 
edifices, serving, at the same time, for the glory of the faith, and 
for the defense of the faithful.* 

Good drawings of two of these missions may be seen in Bartlett's " Per 
sonal Narrative. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 155 

The Alamo was one of the earliest of these establishments. 
It is now within the town, and in extent, probably, a mere wreck 
of its former grandeur. It consists of a few irregular stuccoed 
buildings, huddled against the old church, in a large court sur- 
rounded by a rude wall ; the whole used as an arsenal by the 
U. S. quartermaster. The church-door opens on the square, and 
is meagerly decorated by stucco mouldings, all hacked and bat- 
tered in the battles it has seen. Since the heroic defense of Travis 
and his handful of men, in '36, it has been a monument, not so 
much to faith as to courage. 

The Mission of Concepcion is not far from the town, upon the 
left of the river. Further down are three others, San Juan, San 
Jose, and La Espada. On one of them is said to have been 
visible, not long ago, the date, " 1725." They are in different 
stages of decay, but all are real ruins, beyond any connection 
with the present— weird remains out of the silent past. 

They are of various magnificence, but all upon a common 
model, and of the same materials — rough blocks of limestone, 
cemented with a strong gray stucco. Each has its church, its 
convent, or celled house for the fathers, and its farm-buildings, 
arranged around a large court, entered only at a single point. 
Surrounding each was a large farm, irrigated at a great outlay* 
of labor by aqueducts from the river. 

The decorations of the doors and windows may be still exam- 
ined. They are of stucco, and are rude heads of saints, and 
mouldings, usually without grace, corresponding to those de- 
scribed as at present occupying similar positions in Mexican 
churches. One of the missions is a complete ruin, the others 
afford shelter to Mexican occupants, who ply their trades, and 
herd their cattle and sheep in the old ceUs and courts. Many is 



156 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the picturesque sketch offered to the pencil by such intrusion 
upon falling dome, tower, and cloister. 

THE ENVIRONS. 

The system of aqueducts, for artificial irrigation, extends for 
many miles around San Antonio, and affords some justification 
for the Mexican tradition, that the town, not long ago, contained 
a very much larger population. Most of these lived by agricul- 
ture, returning at evening to a crowded home in the city. These 
water-courses still retain their old Spanish name, " acequias.' , A 
large part of them are abandoned, but in the immediate neighbor- 
hood of the city they are still in use, so that every garden-patch 
may be flowed at will. 

In the outskirts of the town are many good residences, recently 
erected by Americans. They are mostly of the creamy limestone, 
which is found in abundance near by. It is of a very agreeable 
shade, readily sawed and cut, sufficiently durable, and can be pro- 
cured at a moderate cost. When the grounds around them shall 
have been put in correspondence with the style of these houses, 
they will make enviable homes. 

THE SAN ANTONIO SPRING. 

There are, besides the missions, several pleasant points for ex- 
cursions in the neighborhood, particularly those to the San An- 
tonio and San Pedro Springs. The latter is a wooded spot of 
great beauty, but a mile or two from the town, and boasts a res- 
taurant and beer-garden beyond its natural' attractions. The 
San Antonio Spring may be classed as of the first water among 
the gems of the natural world. The whole river gushes up in 
one sparkling burst from the earth. It has all the beautiful ac- 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 157 

companiments of a smaller spring, moss, pebbles, seclusion, 
sparkling sunbeams, and dense overhanging luxuriant foliage. 
The effect is overpowering. It is beyond your possible conceptions 
of a spring. You cannot believe your eyes, and almost shrink 
from sudden metamorphosis by invaded nymphdom. 

BATHING. 

The temperature of the river is of just that agreeable elevation 
that makes you loth to leave a bath, and the color is the ideal 
blue. Few cities have such a luxury. It remains throughout 
the year without perceptible change of temperature, and never 
varies in height or volume. The streets are laid out in such a 
way that a great number of houses have a garden extending to 
the bank, and so a bathing-house, which is in constant use. The 
Mexicans seem half the time about the water. Their plump 
women, especially, are excellent swimmers, and fond of display- 
ing their luxurious buoyancy. The fall of the river is such as 
to furnish abundant water-power, which is now used but for a 
single corn-mill. Several springs add their current to its volume 
above the town, and that from the San Pedro below. It unites, 
near the Gulf, with the Guadalupe, and empties into Espiritu 
Santo Bay, watering a rich, and, as yet, but little-settled country. 

The soil, in the neighborhood of the city, is heavy, and some- 
times mixed with drifts of limestone pebbles, and deposits of 
shell, but is everywhere black, and appears of inexhaustible fer- 
tility, if well cultivated and supplied with moisture. The mar- 
ket-gardens, belonging to Germans, which we saw later in the 
season, are most luxuriant. The prices of milk, butter, and 
vegetables are very high, and the gains of the small German mar- 
ket-farmers must be rapidly accumulating. 



158 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

TOWN LIFE. 

The street-life of San Antonio is more varied than might be 
supposed. Hardly a day passes without some noise. If there 
be no personal affray to arouse talk, there is some Government 
train to be seen, with its hundred of mules, on its way from the 
coast to a fort above ; or a Mexican ox-train from the coast, with 
an interesting supply of ice, or flour, or matches, or of whatever 
the shops find themselves short. A Government express clatters 
off, or news arrives from some exposed outpost, or from New 
Mexico. An Indian in his finery appears on a shaggy horse, in 
search of blankets, powder, and ball. Or at the least, a stage- 
coach with the " States," or the Austin, mail, rolls into the plaza 
and discharges its load of passengers and newspapers. 

The street affrays are numerous and characteristic. I have 
seen, for a year or more, a San Antonio weekly, and hardly a 
number fails to have its fight or its murder. More often than 
otherwise, the parties meet upon the plaza by chance, and each, 
on catching sight of his enemy, draws a revolver, and fires away. 
As the actors are under more or less excitement, their aim is not 
apt to be of the most careful and sure, consequently it is, not 
seldom, the passers-by who suffer. Sometimes it is a young man 
at a quiet dinner in a restaurant, who receives a ball in the head ; 
sometimes an old negro woman, returning from market, who gets 
winged. After disposing of all their lead, the parties close, to 
try their steel, but as this species of metallic amusement is less 
popular, they generally contrive to be separated (" Hold me ! 
Hold me !") by friends before the wounds are mortal. If nei- 
ther is seriously injured, they are brought to drink together 
on the following day, and the town waits for the next excite- 
ment. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 159 

Where borderers and idle soldiers are hanging about drinking- 
places, and where different races mingle on unequal terms, assas- 
sinations must be expected. Murders, from avarice or revenge, 
are common here. Most are charged upon the Mexicans, whose 
passionate motives are not rare, and to whom escape over the 
border is easiest and most natural. 

The town amusements of a less exciting character are not 
many. There is a permanent company of Mexican mounte- 
banks, who give performances of agility and buffoonery two or 
three times a week, parading, before night, in their spangled 
tights with drum and trombone through the principal streets. 
They draw a crowd of whatever little Mexicans can get adrift, 
and this attracts a few sellers of whisky, tortillas, and tamaulcs 
(corn slap-jacks and hashed meat in corn-shucks), all by the 
light of torches making a ruddily picturesque evening group. 

The more grave Americans are served with tragedy by a thin 
local company, who are death on horrors and despair, long 
rapiers, and well oiled hair, and for lack of a better place to 
flirt with passing officers, the city belles may sometimes be seen 
looking on. The national background of peanuts and yells, is 
not, of course, wanting. 

A day or two after our arrival, there was the hanging of a 
Mexican. The whole population left the town to see. Family 
parties, including the grandmother and the little negroes, came 
from all the plantations and farms within reach, and little ones 
were held up high to get their share of warning. The Mexicans 
looked on imperturbable. 

San Antonio, excluding Galveston,* is much the largest city 

* The two towns have nearly kept pace in growth. The yellow fever, it is 
said, has now given San Antonio the advantage. 



160 ■ A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

of Texas. After the Kevolution, it was half deserted by its 
Mexican population, who did not care to come under Anglo- 
Saxon rule. Since then its growth has been rapid and steady. 
At the census of 1850, it numbered 3,500 ; in 1853, its popula- 
tion was 6,000 ; and in 1856, it is estimated at 10,500. Of 
these, about 4,000 are Mexicans, 3,000 Germans, and 3,500 
Americans. The money-capital is in the hands of the Ameri- 
cans, as well as the officers and the Government. Most of the 
mechanics and the smaller shopkeepers are German. The Mexi- 
cans appear to have almost no other business than that of cart- 
ing goods. Almost the entire transportation of the country is 
carried on by them, with oxen and two-wheeled carts. Some of 
them have small shops, for the supply of their own countrymen, 
and some live upon the produce of farms and cattle-ranches 
owned in the neighborhood. Their livelihood is, for the most 
part, exceedingly meagre, made up chiefly of corn and beans. 

THE MEXICANS IN TEXAS. 

We had, before we left, opportunities of visiting familiarly 
many of the Mexican dwellings. I have described their ex- 
ternals. Within, we found usually a single room, open to the 
roof and invariably having a floor of beaten clay a few inches 
below the level of the street. There was little furniture — huge 
beds being the universal piece de resistance. These were used 
by day as sofa and table. Sometimes there were chairs and a 
table besides ; but frequently only a bench, with a few earthen 
utensils for cooking, which is carried on outside. A dog or a 
cat appears on or under the bed, or on the clothes-chest, a saint 
on the wall, and frequently a game-cock fastened in a corner, 
supplied with dishes of corn and water. 






ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 161 

We were invariably received with the most gracious and beam- 
ing politeness and dignity. Their manner towards one another 
is engaging, and that of children and parents most affectionate. 
This we always noticed in evening walks and in the groups 
about the doors, which were often singing in chorus — -the atti- 
tudes expressive of confident affection. In one house, we 
were introduced to an old lady who was supposed by her grand- 
children to be over one hundred years old. She had come from 
Mexico, in a rough cart, to make them a visit. Her face was 
strikingly Indian in feature, her hair, snow white, flowing thick 
over the shoulders, contrasting strongly with the olive skin. 
The complexion of the girls is clear, and sometimes fair, usually 
a blushing olive. The variety of feature and color is very strik- 
ing, and is naturally referred to three sources — the old Spanish, 
the Creole Mexican, and the Indian, with sometimes a suspicion 
of Anglo-Saxon or Teuton. The hair is coarse, but glossy, and 
very luxuriant ; the eye, deep, dark, liquid, and well set. Their 
modesty, though real, we heard, was not proof against a long 
courtship of flattering attentions and rich presents. The con- 
stancy of the married women was made very light of, not that 
their favors were purchasable, but that they are sometimes seized 
by a strong penchant for some other than their lord. There was 
testimony of this in the various shades and features of their 
children ; in fact we thought the number of babies of European 
hair and feature exceeded the native olive in number. We no- 
ticed, in a group of Mexican and negro women, when an indeli- 
cate occurrence took place, that the former turned away in an- 
noyed modesty, while the latter laughed broadly. Their consti- 
tutions, in general, are feeble, and very many of both sexes, 
we were informed, suffered from scrofulous disease. Never- 



162 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tlieless, with good stimulus, the men make admirable la- 
borers. 

The common dress was loose and slight, not to say slatternly. 
It was frequently but a chemise, as low as possible in the neck, 
sometimes even lower, with a calico petticoat. On holidays 
they dress in expensive finery, paying special attention to the 
shoes, of white satin, made by a native artist. 

The houses of the rich differ little from those of the poor, and 
the difference in their style of living must be small, owing to the 
want of education and of all ambition. The majority are classed 
as laborers. Their wages are small, usually, upon farms near 
San Antonio, $6 or $8 a month, with corn and beans. That of 
the teamsters is in proportion to their energy. On being paid 
off, they hurry to their family and all come out in their best to 
spend the earnings, frequently quite at a loss for what to ex- 
change them. They make excellent drovers and shepherds, and 
in work like this, with which they are acquainted, are reliable 
and adroit. A horse -drover, just from the Eio Grande, with 
whom we conversed, called them untiring and faithful at their 
work, but untrustworthy in character. To his guide, he paid $24 
a month, to his " right bower," $15, and to his "left bower," $12 
a month. 

Their tools are of the rudest sort. The old Mexican wheel 
of hewn blocks of wood is still constantly in use, though sup- 
planted, to some extent, by Yankee wheels, sent in pairs from 
New York. The carts are always hewn of heavy wood, and are 
covered with white cotton, stretched over hoops. In these they 
live, on the road, as independently as in their own house. The 
cattle are yoked by the horns, with raw-hide thongs, of which 
they make a great use. 






I 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 163 

They consort freely with the negroes, making no distinction 
from pride of race. A few, of old Spanish blood, have purchased 
negro servants, but most of them regard slavery with abhorrence. 

The Mexicans were treated for a while after annexation like a 
conquered people. Ignorant of their rights, and of the new lan- 
guage, they allowed themselves to be imposed upon by the new 
comers, who seized their lands and property without shadow 
of claim, and drove hundreds of them homeless across the Eio 
Grande. They now, as they get gradually better informed, come 
straggling back, and often their claims give rise to litigation, 
usually settled by a compromise. 

A friend told us, that, wishing, when he built, to square a cor- 
ner of his lot, after making diligent inquiry he was unable to 
hear of any owner for the adjoining piece. He took the respons- 
ibility, and moved his fence over it. Not long after, he was 
waited upon by a Mexican woman, in a towering passion. He 
carried her to a Spanish acquaintance, and explained the transac- 
tion. She was immediately appeased, told him he was welcome 
to the land, and has since been on the most neighborly terms, 
calling him always her " amigo." 

Most adult Mexicans are voters by the organic law ; but few 
take measures to make use of the right. Should they do so, they 
might probably, in San Antonio, have elected a government of their 
own. Such a step would be followed, however, by a summary 
revolution. They are regarded by slaveholders with great con- 
tempt and suspicion, for their intimacy with slaves, and their 
competition with plantation labor. 

Americans, in speaking of them, constantly distinguish them- 
selves as " white folks." I once heard a new comer informing 
another American, that he had seen a Mexican with a revolver. 



164 . A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

"I shouldn't think they ought to be allowed to carry fire-arras. 
It might be dangerous." " It would be difficult to prevent it," 
the other replied; " Oh, they think themselves just as good as 
white men." 

From several counties they have been driven out altogether. 
At Austin, in the spring of 1853, a meeting was held, at which 
the citizens resolved, on the plea that Mexicans were horse-thieves, 
that they must quit the county. About twenty families were 
thus driven from their homes, and dispersed over the western 
counties. Deprived of their means of livelihood, and rendered 
furious by such wholesale injustice, it is no wonder if they should 
take to the very crimes with which they are charged. 

A similar occurrence took place at Seguin, in 1854 ; and in 
1855, a few families, who had returned to Austin, were again 
driven out. 

Even at San Antonio, there had been talk of such a razzia. A 
Mexican, caught in an attempt to steal a horse, had been hung 
by a Lynching party, on the spot, for an example. His friends 
happened to be numerous, and were much excited, threatening 
violence in return. Under pretext of subduing an intended riot, 
the sheriff issued a call for an armed posse of 500 men, with 
the idea of dispersing and driving from the neighborhood a 
large part of the Mexican population. But the Germans, who 
include among them the great majority of young men suitable 
for such duty, did not volunteer as had been expected, and the 
scheme was abandoned. They were of the opinion, one of them 
said to me, that this was not the right and republican way. If 
the laws were justly and energetically administered, no other 
remedy would be needed. One of them, who lived on the Medina, 
in the vicinity of the place of the occurrence, told us he had no 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 165 

complaint to make of the Mexicans ; they never stole his property, 
or troubled him in any way. 

The following is the most reliable estimate I can obtain of the 
actual Mexican population in Texas, (1856) : — 



San Antonio 

Bexar Co. 

Uvalde Co. 

Laredo . 

El Paso, with Presidio 

Lower Rio Grande Counties 

Goliad and Nueces Counties 

Other parts of State 

Floating, say 



4,000 
2,000 
1,000 
1,500 
8,500 
3,000 
1,000 
1,000 
3,000 

25,000 



A PAUSE. 

We had made it our first business, on arriving at San Antonio, 
to find what company was to be had for our Mexican trip, and 
we were somewhat dismayed, on delivering our letters, to find 
that communication with Mexico was thought to be infrequent 
and precarious. Merchants dispatched goods occasionally to dif- 
ferent points on the Rio Grande ; now and then a Government 
express, or an officer with escort, left for our military stations 
there ; a post-rider, once a week, crossed the desert beyond the 
Nueces, riding rapidly and sleeping on the ground. But travel- 
ing parties, such as we had thought to join, for the interior cities 
of Mexico, were almost unheard of : in fact, in the unsettled state 
of political affairs in that crazy Republic, it was considered highly 
dangerous for a party to travel there, whose numbers did not 
enable them, not only to stand nightly guard, but to resist, if 
necessary, organized attacks upon the road. 

A train for Chihuahua, via El Paso, was just about leaving, 
which, if we wished to go in that direction, would afford us ample 



166 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

protection. We rode a mile or two out of town to the spot where 
it was encamped. It was commanded, we found, by Julius 
Froebel, who escaped, by so slender a thread, the republican 
martyrdom which his companion, Kobert Blum, actually suffered 
in Vienna, and whose scientific contributions to the natural and 
human history of the central parts of the continent, have now and 
then appeared in the New York Tribune. The train was a very 
large one, and equipped in the best style. There were twenty- 
six wagons, drawn by 260 mules, with experienced drivers, 
forage and provisions, besides professional hunters, to obtain fresh 
meat where possible. Mr. Froebel, however, gave such an account 
of the slowness and tedium of the travel-life of such a trip as 
quite discouraged us, especially as the train was to leave within 
twelve hours. We were fortunate, the event proved, in not hav- 
ing joined it, as, though it reached its destination quite safely, 
it was detained for some months, in camp at the frontier, near El 
Paso, while custom-house difficulties were being arranged. 

After a day or two, our friend B. announced that a change in 
his business affairs at the north would compel him to ask a dis- 
charge from his enlistment, which we unwillingly granted. This 
more completely blocked our wheels, and threw us quite upon 
chance for our route and our company. We made inquiries on 
all sides without success. The officer in command of the station 
here could give us no promise of company, within a short time, 
even to the Bio Grande. We consulted many old border tra- 
velers, who strongly dissuaded us from attempting the trip by 
ourselves. Finally, among the boarders at a German inn, we 
heard of a scientific gentleman, living at Braunfels, who was 
about to make the trip to the city of Mexico, and resolved on re- 
turning there to offer ourselves as companions. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 167 

On entering San Antonio, our fellow- traveler had taken us with 
him to this German inn, the more willingly on our part, as we 
retained a vivid impression of the contrast between the hotel at 
Neu-Braunfels and every other hotel we had seen in Texas. We 
had been extremely interested in what we had seen of the Ger- 
mans,, too, and were glad of an excuse to see more of them. We 
found a miserable old Mexican house, and close quarters enough 
for sleeping, but most pleasant company, a hearty, hospitable, 
unremitting kindness, and a table which, with its refreshing salads 
and variety of vegetables, was like returning spring to our salt 
and husky palates. At each meal we met some twenty boarders, 
mostly clerks or men in business, but with a sprinkling of pro- 
fessional men, and, from first to last, gentlemen in manner, and full 
of such information as we wanted. We cannot too strongly re- 
commend a quiet traveler to follow our example. 

By their advice we called upon the editor of their German 
newspaper, who received us most politely, and was able, not only 
to give us the name of the gentleman who was intending to go to 
Mexico, but to give us a more accurate idea of the numbers and 
position of the Germans in Texas than we had before obtained. 

A NORTHER. 

The day before we left San Antonio was cold and foggy. The 
following morning was warm but still foggy, making our ride, 
with a light wind behind us, exceedingly oppressive. We threw 
off our coats, and soon stripped off vest and cravat; but this, we 
found, was not enough, and we were obliged to stop to take off 
our flannel. Our horses were reeking with sweat. At two 
o'clock the thermometer, in a cool, shady spot, stood at 79°, and 
the sky was nearly clear. We were very tired and thirsty, and 



168 ' A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

one of us suggested that this was the very country and the very 
weather for mirage. It was not long after we saw the edge of 
the horizon rising in the flickering heat, and groups of trees 
standing free in the air, as an island or a point stretches off into 
the sky of a hot day on the sea-coast. Then the trees connected 
themselves with the land below upon each side, and we saw a 
beautiful lake, the water rippling in the sunlight. It grew wider 
and longer, and shortly was like the open sea, with a rich and 
shady shore, extending up, at intervals, like bays and rivers, into 
the land. Soon the lakes were common here and there about us, 
calm of surface, trees with heavy foliage bending over their 
banks to rest in the water. Had we not been prepared, by a 
knowledge of the country, we should have been strongly tempted 
to ride towards some of them for a drink of cool water. 

Later in the day, the air became clearer, and a pleasant breeze 
played upon our backs. The mirage gradually disappeared, and 
we lost it in descending a swell of the prairie. It was near sun- 
set, with a dull cloud bank in the north. We were still suffering 
with the heat, when one of us said — 

" See this before us, what is it, fog again or smoke V 9 

" A prairie fire, I think," said the other. 

" Probably it is ; but what is this on the hill close by, this is 
fog, surely ? It must be a norther coming. Yes, it is a norther; 
listen to that roar ! We must get our clothing on or we shall 
be chilled through." 

First, a chilly whiff, then a puff, the grass bends flat, and, 
bang, it is upon us — a blast that would have taken a top-gallant 
sail smack out of the bolt-ropes, and cold as if blowing across a 
sea of ice. We galloped to the nearest ravine, and hurried on 
all the clothing we could muster. Fortunately, though our bag- 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 169 

gage was left behind, we had taken a supply, having strapped 
blankets, Guernsey shirts, and Canada leggins, behind our sad- 
dles. 

At nine o'clock, the thermometer stood at thirty-three degrees, 
and, at seven next morning, at twenty-one degrees. A thermo- 
meter hanging in Neu-Braunfels showed a fall of sixty degrees 
in seven hours. 

These northers upon the open prairies are exceedingly trying. 
The fierce wind that accompanies such a sudden change gives 
them triple effect, especially as they often interrupt warm, 
relaxing weather. Teamsters, herdsmen, and travelers, caught 
out far from habitations, not unfrequently perish, and very great 
suffering is caused to animals. Cattle instinctively make for the 
nearest shelter of trees ; but, on the open prairies of the coast, 
they fall by thousands before a freezing rain, which is sometimes 
added. 

The northers continue from one to three days, growing milder 
at the close, and occur once or twice a week during the winter 
months. But a tight house and a blazing fire make one quite in- 
dependent of them, and such we found in the German inn. 

NEU-BRAUNFELS. THE ORPHANS. 

Our naturalist, we were told, lived adjacent to the Orphan 
Asylum at Neu-Wied, a hamlet some three miles from the town. 

Thither, after breakfast, next day, we went, with a note of 
introduction, on foot, and briskly, for it was too cold to ride. 

The Orphan Asylum, as we approached it, had the appearance 
of being a small American farm-house, with a German rear erec- 
tion of brick laid up in a timber frame- work. A large live-oak 
sheltered the stoop, but the whole establishment was very rough, 



170 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

with a common rail-fence about it, and not the least indication 
of fashionable philanthropy. As we entered a large, dark, un- 
painted hall, a man came forward from an inner room, who, 
from his dress, might have been taken for a day-laborer. It 
was the gentleman, however, whom we wished to see — a courte- 
ous and cultivated professor. 

It was a holiday, and he had been engaged in preparing some 
botanical specimens, but immediately left them to ferry us over 
the Guadalupe, which ran through his grounds, the probable tra- 
veler residing beyond. 

Leaving the house, we passed through a garden in the rear, 
where he showed us little plots of wheat from Egypt, Algiers, 
Arabia, and St. Helena, which he was growing to ascertain 
which was best adapted to the climate. Wheat-growing, of any 
sort, is a novelty here, but the Germans are not satisfied with 
corn, nor are they willing to pay for the transportation of flour 
from Ohio, like the Anglo-Americans. There has been, there- 
fore, considerable wheat grown among them, and that with satis- 
factory success. 

From the garden, we passed into a grove, where, in a circular 
opening of the trees, a rude theatre had been formed, which was 
used by musical parties from Neu-Braunfels, and as a school or 
lecture-room in summer. 

Not rinding the gentleman of whom we were in search, we 
returned to the professor's house, and spent there, at his invi- 
tation, a delightful day. 

He had come to this country in 1839. In the steerage of his 
ship there were about forty Norwegians with their families. 
They suffered much hardship, and he assisted and comforted 
them as much as was in his power. They were very grateful, 






ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 171 

and before reaching New York they unanimously requested him 
to continue with them as their pastor, and assist them in forming 
their settlement at the West. While the ship was detained at 
Quarantine, he went to the city with the captain to make ar- 
rangements for their necessary stay in the city. Ke turning to 
Staten Island, he found the ship had gone up, and the ferry-boat 
had discontinued running for the night. It was not till late the 
next day that he succeeded in rinding the ship at her wharf in 
New York, and then all the Norwegians had departed. He 
spent several days searching for them, but saw none of them un- 
til nearly two years afterwards. He was then in a crowd at 
Milwaukie, when his arm was suddenly seized with both hands 
by a little boy, who sprung up to kiss him, crying, " Oh ! papa 
E. ! oh, papa E. !" It was one of the children of the steerage. 

He went with the boy to his father's house, who told him that 
some persons came on board the ship, while they were still at 
Quarantine, and represented that they had been engaged by 
some of their countrymen to advise and assist the emigrants. 
They were accordingly taken to a boarding-house as soon as the 
ship reached New York, and during the evening they were in- 
duced to purchase a considerable tract of land by the counsel of 
their disinterested friends, who also furnished them with cheap 
tickets to carry them through to Milwaukie by a steamboat that 
was to start the next morning. They had thus been led to leave 
the city almost immediately ; but the lands they had purchased, 
and, in part, paid for, they never found. The deeds they had 
N received were forgeries. 

From Wisconsin he had come to Texas, and joining the first 
company of the settlers who established Neu-Braunfels, became 
their pastor. The following year several thousand were landed 



172 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

upon the coast, and, unprovided with food or shelter, per- 
ished like sheep. Slowly, droves of them found their way into 
Neu-Braunfels, haggard and almost dying, having lost all family 
affection or fellow-feeling in intense despairing personal suffering. 
Many children came whose parents had died, and he found them 
starving upon the river bank. He could not bear the sight, but 
collected sixty of them, and went to work upon this farm with 
them. He had no means of his own, but took what he could find 
belonging to the children, and has since sustained them. Work- 
ing with his wife and the children in the field he has managed to 
raise corn and keep them alive, until now, in better times, they 
are mostly distributed as helps in various homes. Eighteen are 
with him still, all calling him papa. He had obtained from the 
Legislature an incorporation for a University at Braunfels, and 
himself, as yet, sole Professor, had given a classical education to 
a few pay scholars. 

The whole narrative was exceedingly interesting, as we heard 
it at our simple farm-house dinner — the Professor, with his horny 
hands, and with his much-patched coat, telling us of his own 
noble conduct in the simplest manner, but sometimes glowing 
and flushing with a superb home eloquence. 

HISTORY OF THE GERMAN SETTLEMENTS. 

The most accurate and full published account of these German 
settlements is the report of a lecture, by Frederick Kapp, upon 
the Germans in Texas, in the New York Tribune of January 20, 
1855. From this, and from our notes of oral statements on the 
spot, I will concisely give the story. The experiment was a most 
interesting one ; that of using associated capital for the transport- 
ation and settlement of emigrants on a large scale ; in fact, the 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 173 

removal, in organized bodies, of the poor of an old country to the 
virgin soil of a new. 

In the year 1842, among many schemes evolved in Germany 
by the social stir of the time, and patronized by certain princes, 
from motives of policy, was one of real promise. It was an asso- 
ciation, of which Count Castel was the head, for the diminution 
of pauperism by the organized assistance and protection of emi- 
grants. At this time, annexation being already almost a cer- 
tainty, speculators, who represented the owners of large tracts of 
Texas land, appeared in Germany, with glowing accounts of their 
cheapness and richness. They succeeded in gaining the attention 
of this association, whose leaders were pleased with the isolated 
situation, as offering a more tangible and durable connection 
with their emigrants, and opening a new source of wealth and 
possible power. A German dependency or new Teutonic nation 
might result. Palmerston, it is said, encouraged the idea,* the 
Texan political leaders then coquetting with an English Protec- 
torate, to induce more rapid advances on the part of the United 
States. 

In 1843, an agent of the association, Count Waldeck, visited 
Texas, but effected nothing else than to secure himself a slave 
plantation, not far from the coast. He was dismissed. The fol- 
lowing year the association commenced active operations. It 

* According to the work of Mr. Siemering upon the Germans in Texas, now 
in the hands of the publisher, this encouragement went so far as to take the 
form of a contract between the Verein and the British Government. By it the 
former agreed to place 10,000 families in Texas ; the latter to furnish armed pro- 
tection to the colony. A new market with indefinite capacities ; a new source 
of cotton ; opposition to slavery and to the extension of the area of the United 
States ; such were the sufficient motives for England. Prince Leiningen was the 
half-brother of the Queen of England. Prince Solms was an intimate friend of 
Prince Albert, with whom he was educated at Bonn. Copies of the corre- 
spondence still exist. 



174 . A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

obtained, under the title of the Mainzer Adels Verein, a charter 
from the Duke of Nassau, who assumed the protectorate. It had the 
Prince of Leiningen as president ; Count Castel as director ; 
Prince Frederick of Prussia, the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, and 
some thirty other princes and nobles as associated members. A 
plan, inviting emigrants, was published, offering each adult, sub- 
scribing $120, a free passage and forty acres of land; a family, 
subscribing $240, a free passage and eighty acres. The associa- 
tion undertook to provide log-houses, stock, and tools at fair 
prices, and to construct public buildings and roads for the settle- 
ments. 

Prince Solms, of Braunfels, was appointed General Commis- 
sioner and proceeded to Texas. Had he procured from the State 
Legislature a direct grant of land for the colony, as he might 
have done, all would have been well. But, most unfortunately, 
the association were induced, without sufficient examination, to 
buy a grant of the previous year. It was held by Fisher and 
Miller, and the tract was described by them as a second paradise. 
In reality, it lay in the heart of a savage country, hundreds of 
miles beyond the remotest settlement, between the Upper Colo- 
rado and the great desert plains, a region, to this day, almost 
uninhabited. This wretched mistake was the ruin of the whole 
enterprise. The association lost its money and its character, 
and carried many emigrants only to beggary and a miserable 
death. 

In the course of the year, 180 subscribers were obtained, who 
landed with their families in the autumn upon the coast of Tex- 
as, and marched towards their promised lands, with Prince Solms 
at their head. Finding the whole country a wilderness, and 
being harassed by the attacks of Indians, on reaching the union 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 175 

of ibe Comal with the Guadalupe, they became disheartened, and 
there Prince Solms, following the good advice of a naturalist of 
the company, Mr. Lindheimer, encamped, and laid out the pre- 
sent town of Neu-Braunfels. 

This settlement, receiving aid from home, while it was needed, 
was a success, in spite of the Prince, who appears to have been 
an amiable fool, aping, among the log-cabins, the nonsense of 
mediaeval courts. In the course of a year he was laughed out of 
the country. 

He was succeeded by 0. Yon Meusebach, who proved at least 
much better adapted to the work. 

Had he not been reduced to inaction by home routine, and a 
want of funds, the misery that followed might, perhaps, have 
been prevented.* 

In course of the next year, 1845, more than 2,000 families 
joined the association. The capital which had been sufficient for 
its first effort was totally inadequate to an undertaking of this 
magnitude. These poor people sailed from Germany, in the fall 
of this year, and were landed in the winter and early spring, on 
the flat coast of the Gulf, to the number of 5,200. Annexation 
had now taken place, and the war with Mexico was beginning. 
The country had been stripped of provisions, and of the means 
of transportation, by the army. Neither food nor shelter had 
been provided by the association. The consequences may be 
imagined. The detail is too horrible. The mass remained for 

* It is here difficult to sift various statements to an exact appreciation. — A 
new company (at Bieberich) subsequently bought out the Verein, but Mr. Mar- 
tin, their agent in Texas, has never entered possession, having been forced 
into the law by Spies, the successor of Meusebach. In 1855, the original Fisher 
makes his re-appearance, with a scheme for " scaling " both claims, and se- 
curing what remains. This speculation nowise affects the actual colo- 
nists. 



176 ' A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

months encamped in sand-holes, huts, or tents : the only food 
procurable was beef. The summer heats bred pestilence. 

The world has hardly record of such suffering. Human na- 
ture could not endure it. Human beings became brutes. " Your 
child is dying." " What do I care?" Old parents were hurried 
into the ground before the breath of life had left them. The 
Americans who saw the stragglers, thought a new race of savages 
was come. Haggard and desperate, they roved inland by twos 
and threes, beyond all law or religion. Many of the survivors 
reached the German settlements ; many settled as laborers in 
American towns. With some of them, Meusebach founded an- 
other town — Fredericksburg — higher up than Braunfels. He 
also explored the Fisher grant, and converted the surrounding 
Indians, from enemies, into good-natured associates. 

" It is but justice," says Mr. Kapp, " to throw the light of 
truth upon all this misery. The members of the association, 
although well-meaning, did not understand what they were about 
to do. They fancied that their high protection, alone, was suffi- 
cient to make all right. They had not the remotest idea of the 
toil and hardship of settling a new country. They permitted 
themselves to be humbugged by speculators and adventurers ; 
they entered into ruinous bargains, and had not even funds enough 
to take the smallest number of those, whom they had induced to 
join them, to the place of settlement. When money was most 
wanted, they failed to send it, either from mistrust or neglect. 
To perform the obligation imposed by the agreement with Fisher, 
they induced the emigration to Texas by the most enchanting 
and exaggerated statements. The least that even the less san- 
guine ones expected, was, to find parrots rocking on the boughs, 
and monkeys playing on the palm-trees." 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 177 

This condemnation seems to fall justly. 

Such was the unhappy beginning. But the wretchedness is 
already forgotten. Things soon mended. The soil, climate, and 
the other realities found, were genial and good, if not Elysian. 
Now, after seven years, I do not know a prettier picture of con- 
tented prosperity than we witnessed at Neu-Braunfels. A satis- 
fied smile, in fact, beamed on almost every German face we saw 
in Texas. 

PRESENT APPEARANCES. 

Of the general appearance of Neu-Braunfels I gave some 
notion in describing the route to San Antonio. We now took 
pains to obtain some definite facts with regard to its condition. 
The dwellings in general are small and humble in appearance, 
but weather-tight, and, generally, provided with galleries or 
verandahs, and with glazed casement windows. In the latter 
respect, they have the advantage over most houses we have seen 
in Texas, and, I have no doubt, the average comforts of life with- 
in are much greater than among the Anglo-Americans, generally, 
in the state. 

The citizens are, however, nearly all men of very small capi- 
tal. Of the original settlers scarcely any now remain, and their 
houses and lands are occupied by more recent emigrants. Those 
who have left have made enough money during their residence 
to enable them to buy farms or cattle-ranches in the mountains, 
to which they have removed. 

Half the men now residing in Neu-Braunfels and its vicinity, 
are probably agricultural laborers, or farmers, who themselves 
follow the plough. The majority of the latter do not, I think, 
own more than ten acres of land each. Within the town itself, 



178 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS 



there are of master-mechanics, at least, the following numbers, 
nearly all of whom employ several workmen : 



Carpenters and Builders . 


. 20 


Wagon-makers . 


7 


Blacksmiths .... 


. 8 


Gun and Locksmiths 


2 


Coppersmiths .... 


. 1 


Tinsmiths 


2 


Machinists .... 


. 1 


Saddlers 


3 


Shoemakers .... 


. 6 


Turners . 


2 


Tailors 


. 5 


Button and Fringe -makers 


1 


Tanners ..... 


. 3 


Butchers . 


3 


Bakers ..... 


. 4 



There are four grist-mills, and a couple of New-England men 
are building a sash and blind factory, and propose erecting a 
cotton factory. 

A weekly newspaper is published — the JSfeu-Braunfels Zeitung. 
It is a paper of much higher character than most of the German 
American papers, edited by the naturalist, Lindheimer. 

There are ten or twelve stores and small tradesmen's shops, 
two or three apothecaries, and as many physicians, lawyers, and 
clergymen. I do not think there is another town in the slave 
states in which the proportion to the whole population of me- 
chanics, or of persons employed in the exercise of their own dis- 
cretion in productive occupations, is one-quarter as large as in 
Neu-Braunfels, unless it be some other in which the Germans are 
the predominating race. 

There are several organizations among the people which indi- 
cate an excellent spirit of social improvement : an Agricultural 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 179 

Society, a Mechanics' Institute, a Harmonic Society, a Society 
for Political Debates, and a " Turners' " Society. A horticul- 
tural club has expended $1,200 in one year in introducing trees 
and plants. 

These associations are the evidence of an active intellectual 
life, and desire for knowledge and improvement among the 
masses of the people, like that which distinguishes, the New- 
Englanders, and which is unknown wherever slavery degrades 
labor. Will this spirit resist the progress of slavery westward, 
or must it be gradually lost as the community in which it now 
exists becomes familiar with slavery ? 

In Neu-Braunfels and the surrounding German hamlets, there 
are five free schools for elementary education, one exclusive 
Eoman Catholic school, a town free school of higher grade, and 
a private classical school. In all of these schools English is 
taught with German. The teacher of the higher department of 
the central town school is paid four hundred dollars a year ; 
that of the primary department (a female), two hundred dollars. 

The following were the prices current at the time of my visit : 
Maize, 35 cents a bushel ; meal, 45 cents ; wheat, none in mar- 
ket; flour, extra St. Louis, $12 ; soda crackers, 20 cents ; beef, 
fresh, retail for households, 3 cents per pound ; pork, 7 cents ; 
bacon, sides, 15 cents ; hams, sugar-cured, 20 cents ; fowls, 25 
cents each; turkeys, 50 cents; ditto, wild, 25 cents; ducks, 20 
cents; venison, a whole deer, $1, a quarter, .20 cents, or about 1 
cent a pound ; mutton, 7 cents; sweet potatoes, 50 cents per 
bushel. 

There are here two items which New York farmers will hardly 
credit when placed in connection. Maize, 35 cents a bushel ; 
pork, 7 cents a pound ; anc], still more remarkable, hams, 20 



180 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

cents ! In New York, I suppose, corn was fully double that 
price, and pork no higher. 

Pine boards, 50 cents a foot ; cedar, 40 cents ; bar iron, 8 to 
9 cents per pound ; nails, $8 per keg. These articles are 
brought in wagons from the coast, about one hundred and fifty 
miles. Transportation by teams (owned and driven altogether 
by Germans), usually one cent a pound from the coast. Stone 
and brick clay, lime, sand and water-power can be conveniently 
and cheaply obtained. 

Money here, as everywhere else in Western Texas, is very 
scarce, and may be always loaned on perfectly trustworthy 
securities, at fifteen per cent, and upwards. The law of Texas 
makes all above eight per cent, usurious. Master-mechanics, 
with whom I conversed, informed me that they had no lack of 
work, but that it was difficult to get payment in money. 

Journeymen (late emigrants and rough hands) informed me 
that they were paid wages, $15 a month and upward, and found. 
Farm-laborers, $8 to $15, and found. Domestics (females), $5 to 
$8. It is very difficult to obtain the latter, and still more difficult 
to keep them, as but few girls emigrate in proportion to the men, 
and they generally obtain situations for life within a few weeks 
after their arrival. This state of things is likely to continue for 
a long time, and, as the Germans grow wealthy and luxurious, 
will, undoubtedly, lead to their occasionally purchasing slaves to 
relieve themselves from the annoyance of constant changes in 
their household. 

In Neu-Braunfels and the immediate vicinity are living about 

three thousand Germans.* The Anglo-American population 

* Since our notes, the adjacent farming county has increased its population 
at the expense of the town. The county-population is now estimated at 5,000, 
the town, 2,000. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 181 

of the place does not exceed twenty. Just out of the town a 
wealthy planter has settled, who holds one hundred negroes. He 
also owns a mill and water-power, and a good deal of real es- 
tate. Another American, living in the town, owns a negro girl, 
and one negro girl is hired by one of the Germans as a domes- 
tic. There are no other negroes in town. The blacks of the 
plantation, we were told, had acquired the power of speaking 
German in an extremely short time after their arrival. 

Sunday was observed more thoroughly as a day of rest from 
labor than we had seen in any town of Texas. The stores, ex- 
cept one kept by a New-Englander, were closed during the day. 
The people who appeared in the streets were well dressed, quiet, 
and orderly. We saw no drunkenness. In the evening there 
were amusements, among them a ball, which the Lutheran pastor 
was expected to attend. 

The health of the town is good. For several years there has 
been no epidemic illness. The greater part of those of whom I 
made inquiry assured me their health had been better here than 
in Germany.* 

The Lutheran clergyman informed us that he had registered 
but seven deaths, during the year, among his congregation. The 
pastoral record during the early years of the settlement tells a 
pathetic story. It is as follows : 





Deaths. 


Births. 




Deaths. 


Births. 


1845. 


. 27 


9 


1847 . 


. 71 


35 


1846. 


. 304 


34 


1848 . 


. 19 


75 



About one-half the people, if I am not mistaken, are nominal 
Catholics. 

* Some particulars of the summer temperature will be found in the Ap- 
pendix. 



1S2 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

FltEE COTTON. 

In the town,- each house has its garden-plot, and over the 
neighborhood are scattered hundreds of small farms. Owing to 
the low price of corn, most of these had been cultivated, partly, in 
cotton during the year before our visit.* The result was a total 
crop of eight hundred bales, which, at Galveston, brought from 
one to two cents a pound more than that produced by slaves, 
owing to the more careful handling of white and personally in- 
terested labor ; but the expense of hauling cotton to the coast 
prevents any large profits at this distance. A railroad or a 
local manufactory must precede any extensive cultivation of cot- 
ton, while corn, which requires much less labor, can find a mar- 
ket at a fair price. With water-power and hands upon the spot, 
it certainly seems an unnatural waste of labor to carry the sta- 
ple to Massachusetts to be spun, but such, for want of local ca- 
pital, is now the course of trade. 

In spite of the common assertion, that only blacks can endure 
the heat of southern labor, the production of cotton, by whites 
alone, is by no means rare. There are very many, both of those 
who work their own small cotton farms and of those who work 
with their few negroes, day after day in the field. Corn cultiva- 
tion, for year after year, is the common work of the less vaga- 
bond of the poor whites. But there is hardly in the South 
another as striking an instance of pure free-labor upon cotton- 
fields, as this of the Germans. Their cotton goes in one body to 
market, entirely separate from the great mass exported, and from 
their peculiar style of settlement, it may be even considered as 

* For the two succeeding years, corn has returned to its old price of $1 and 
upwards. At this price cotton cannot compete with it, consequently its culti- 
vation has been temporarily abandoned. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 183 

the product of one large plantation, worked by white hands, and 
divided into well-marked annual tasks. 

These 800 bales, therefore, though but a drop in the bucket to 
the whole crop, are a very substantial evidence of the possibilities 
of not only white, but of well-regulated free-labor in the South. 

Kendall's ranch. 
We had the pleasure of spending an evening at Neu-Braunfels 
with Mr. G. W. Kendall, of the New Orleans Picayune, who has 
a sheep-ranch five or six miles north of the town. Upon it he 
has a good stock of mares, some cattle, and a large flock of sheep, 
under charge of an imported Scotch shepherd. Owing to some 
mismanagement, in cold weather, his first experiences were not 
very favorable. Now the farm was in a fair way to be extremely 
profitable. He uses no negroes, but hires all extra labor done by 
Germans from the town. In talking over our plans with him w r e 
found no particular encouragement toward entering Mexico. 
We should find the distance, he said, everywhere, at least twice 
as far as it was reported. The scenery was composed of desert 
plains and cactus, and once a day, perhaps, of a stone wall, in 
addition. We should wear out about one horse a week, and 
would be robbed each day of something we had, until w 7 e should 
reach Mexico without a sou in our pockets, and without one rag 
with which we started. Certain circumstances in his first visit to 
Mexico, we thought, however, might have given him a permanently 
unfavorable impression. 

A GERMAN CABIN. 

Our naturalist, we found, had but vague Mexican intentions. 
We returned to San Antonio, by way of Seguin. Setting out 



184 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

late from the latter place, we were benighted on the road, and 
took shelter at a cabin, which we found occupied by two German 
settlers. Their house and life are worth describing, from its con- 
trast, if nothing else, with the home of the native poor white 
further East, 

There were, a man and his wife, with a son, and another single 
man, who came from Germany four years ago. They landed at 
Lavacca, and came directly to the interior, at N$u-Braunfels. 
For the first year the bachelor hired himself to a farmer ; the 
second he had been employed in a grocery in San Antonio. The 
other, who was a shoemaker in Germany, worked at his trade. 
The two then combined their capital, most of it made during 
these two years, and purchased, about a year since, the cabin 
they lived in, 100 acres of land, and some cattle. The land was 
worth about $2 an acre, but they ranged their cattle over as 
much of the adjoining prairie as they chose. The soil was ex- 
tremely fertile, and the pasturage rank and nutritious. They had 
raised last summer a large supply of corn for themselves and their 
stock, together with a good store of various vegetables. Their 
stock of cattle had been carefully watched, and, with the natural 
increase, now exceeded twenty head. They had sold butter, 
eggs, shoes, and stockings, and purchased two mares, now heavy 
with colt. They had taken up the rotten wooden floor of the 
American, preferring to it a hard earthen floor. They had re- 
paired the roof, and, with a stucco, which they formed by mixing 
grass with a calcareous clay, had made tight and smooth walls 
inside and out, doing all the work with their own hands. The 
house was small, but tight and comparatively comfortable. They 
, had put glass sashes into the windows, and had made new doors, 
swinging easily on their hinges, and furnished with wooden latches. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 185 

The house was not comfortable enough for them, however, and 
they told us that next year, or as soon as they had got certain 
fences made, and land broken up, they were going to build a new 
house, at another point on their land where there were some trees. 
It would not cost them anything to make it, they said, because 
they could cut all the wood on their own land, and they could 
do all the work themselves in the winter. 

They were in a very solitary situation — fifteen miles from any 
village, but with two other German settlers and an American 
plantation within three miles. They were well satisfied with the 
country. 

" And you are glad you left Germany V 9 I asked the young 
man. 

" 0, yes ; very glad : a thousand times better here." 

" You can have more comfort here?" 

" Oh, no ; not so much. It is hard for a young man, he can 
have so little pleasure. These American gentlemen, here in 
Texas, they do not know any pleasure. When they come toge- 
ther sometime, what do they'? They can only sit all round the 
fire and speet ! Why, then they drink some whisky ; or may be 
they play cards, or they make great row. They have no pleasure 
as in Germany." 

" Why, then, do you like it better to be here?" 

" Because here I am free. In Germany I cannot say at all 
how I shall be governed. They govern the people with soldiers. 
They tried to make me a soldier, too, but I run away." 

" In Germany, too, I suppose, you had to work very hard." 

" Oh, we work harder here ; but, by-and-by, when we get 
fixed, then we will not have to work hard then, it will be very 
easy. In three years I go back to Germany. I left a sweet- 



1S6 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

heart there. I marry her and come back and have here my 
home." 

" But they will arrest you because you ran away and did not 
serve as a soldier." 

" Ah, no ; for then I shall be a citizen /" 

" Did you give notice, when you first arrived, of your inten- 
tion, then?" 

" Oh, yes." 

" Do most of the Germans do so 1" 

" Those that have good sense — all." 

We were surprised to hear how well the son of the shoemaker, 
a boy of fourteen, spoke English, and asked where he learned it % 
" At school in Neu-Braunfels." He had attended school, where 
he had been taught English, while his father lived there during 
two years. This year he had not been at school, because they 
had too much work to do in their new place ; but next winter 
they would send him to an American academy — boarding-school 
— where, he said, he thought he should learn very fast ; but it 
would be very costly ; two dollars a month for the lowest class 
and four dollars for the uppermost. 

All of them were well ^dressed, but the woman was a pattern 
of neatness. As she cooked our supper it seemed as if she had 
been " made up" for a model housewife. She had a fine, healthy, 
kind German face, and was so good-natured and so desirous to 
make us comfortable, and so easily amused and gratified herself, 
that when we left we parted from a friend. 

The house was supplied with about the same amount of large 
furniture as an American's — bedsteads, and chests, and cupboards 
— but there were fifty little conveniences to be used in cooking, 
or for other purposes, here, which are wanting there. For sup- 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 187 

per we had wheat and Indian bread, buttermilk and eggs. At 
breakfast, besides the same articles, there were also pfannelcuchen, 
something between a pancake and an omelette, eaten with butter 
and sugar. The sugar was refined, and the butter yellow and 
sweet. " How can you make such butter?" we asked, in aston- 
ishment. " Oh, ho ! it is only the American ladies are too lazy ; 
they not work enough their butter, They give us fifty cent a 
pound for our butter in San Antone ! yes, fifty cent ! but we 
want to eat good butter, too." Such was the fact. At the house 
of the American herdsman I described in Eastern Texas, who 
owned probably one hundred cows, there was no milk or butter 
— it was too much trouble. A friend told me that he had spent 
a fortnight at the house of an American here who owned five 
hundred cows, without tasting milk or butter ; not because the 
family did not like these luxuries, but because it was too much 
trouble. The German had a cow driven into a pen to be milked 
at daylight. His wife milked her herself. The American owned 
a number of negroes. The German was happy in the possession 
of freedom, undebilitated by mastership or slaveship. 

Or is it, as they say, the climate ? and will the German, in his 
turn, after a few years, be debilitated so by it and labor only 
under the influence of fear or of excited passion 1 I do not be- 
lieve it. 

THE GERMANS IN THE MOUNTAINS. 

Finding still no company for Mexico at San Antonio, we gladly 
accepted an invitation from the German editor, Dr. Douai, to ac- 
company him on a few days' excursion, he was about making, 
into the mountains to the northward. 

There are certain persons with whom acquaintance ripens rapid- 
ly. Our companion, we found, was one of these. We listened to 



188 , A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

some details of a varied and stormy life, in learning what brought 
him here, and were not long in falling into discussions that ran 
through deep water, and demanded all our skill in navigation. 

Oar horses took advantage of our absence to stray into un- 
known parts, and for some hours after we started, we traveled 
loosely over the prairies, only keeping their heads toward the 
north. Night, however, found us on the Cibolo, and near a set- 
tlement, where we secured quarters for the night. 

Five or six miles from San Antonio, the prairies rise, in gentle 
slopes, into hills, which become steeper and nearer one another 
as you travel further. In thirty miles, the valleys have become 
very narrow, and the hills and mountains rugged with projecting 
strata of limestone. These strata are very peculiar, and are 
said to be characteristic of the inland region all the way to Mis- 
souri. They are of the thickness of building stones, and lying 
horizontally, they give the hills the appearance of artificial struc- 
tures, so that a conical hill leaves very much the impression of a 
crumbling, overgrown pyramid. The soil is black, but has been 
washed from the square edges. Wherever it exists, grass grows, 
even over the summits of the mountains, if they be not bare 
rocks. In the smaller valleys, particularly the following day, we 
found ourselves in real Sonora scenery. The stunted live-oaks 
were rarely to be seen, besides grass, there were only large cacti, 
yuccas, and agaves, scattered over the arid rocky elevations. 

In the larger valleys, were groves of post-oak, and along the 
principal water-courses, timber of various kinds, and some good 
bottom-land, as on the Cibolo, at the road- crossing, where a town 
called Borne had been laid out, and a few houses built. But the 
natural use of the country was, palpably, for grazing, and that, 
sheep-grazing. We could hardly refrain from expecting, on each 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 189 

bleak hill, to startle a black-faced flock, and see a plaided, silent, 
long-legged shepherd appear on the scene. 

A NEW SETTLEH. 

The family whose hospitality we sought, were newly arrived 
German farmers. They had reached Texas in the fall, and had 
been settled here but about two months. 

Their house, although built merely for temporary occupancy, 
until they could spare time and money for one more comfortable, 
was a very convenient long, narrow log cabin, with two rooms, 
each having a sleeping loft over it, two halls, or rooms open at 
the ends, and a corn-crib. The cooking was done outside, by a 
camp-fire, but with utensils brought from Germany, and peculiarly 
adapted to it. A considerable stock of furniture was stored in 
the halls, yet in the boxes in which it had been imported. The 
walls of the two rooms had been made tight with clay, the doors 
w r ere furnished with latches. (No man who has traveled much 
on the frontier will look upon these indications as trivial.) Oar 
supper was served to us on china, on a clean table-cloth, 
in one of these rooms, skillfully and nicely. A sofa, occu- 
pying one side of the room, had evidently been made by the wo- 
men of the family after the building of the cabin. On the walls 
there were hung a very excellent old line engraving of a painting 
in the Dresden gallery, two lithographs, and a pencil sketch, all 
glazed, and framed in oak. 

The family consisted of several middle-aged and elderly people, 
a young man, a young lady, and four very sweet, flaxen-haired 
children. They were all very neatly dressed, the head-dresses of 
the females being especially becoming and tidy. They were cour- 
teous and affable, and the tones of voice were amiable and musical. 



190 ' A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Oar conversation with them was naturally left pretty much to 
our German companion. He went, however, after supper, to call 
on one of the neighbors. An hour or two later, as I returned to 
the house, after looking to our horses, one of the elder women 
spoke to me in German. I could not understand, and she called 
to the young lady, who came before me, and bowing in a very 
formal manner, addressed me in these words : " Sire, will you to 
bed now go, or will you for rest wait f I replied that I would 
at once go to bed, if she pleased. She bowed and walked before 
me till opposite the open door of the second tight room, in 
which a candle had been placed, and pointing to it, said : " There, 
Sire." There were three single beds in our sleeping-room, all 
extremely clean, and we were provided with washing apparatus, 
and other bed-chamber luxuries very unusually found, even in 
the "best hotels," in the Southwest. The walls of the room, 
too, were adorned with some good engravings, and some paint- 
ings of religious subjects, of ordinary merit. 

The head of this family had been a tradesman in a small town 
in Bavaria, where, also, he had owned a little farm. He had 
evidently been able to live there with considerable comfort. He 
could not, however, see any way in which he might provide for 
his family, so that he could leave them without great anxiety at 
his death. But now, if this farm should be divided among his 
children, all of them could, by honest labor, be sure of obtaining, 
come the worst, sufficient food, and raiment, and shelter, and in 
no case would they be dependent on the favor or kindness of pub- 
lic functionaries for the privilege of laboring for their living. 

" Only one thing," said the mother, " we regret. It is that 
our children, who have so well commenced their education in 
Germany, cannot here continue it." 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 191 

SISTERDALE. 

Next day our road took us over a rugged ridge to the valley of 
the Guadalupe. From the summit was a wide and magnificent 
view of misty hills* and .wooded streams. We were crossing a 
little creek beyond, when two horsemen, in red shirts and slouch- 
ed hats, came over the hill upon us at a hand gallop. They no 
sooner saw us, than they reined up with a shout, and gave our 
companion a hearty grasp of the hand. They were two men of 
Sisterdale, in search of stray cattle. 

Sisterdale is a settlement of eight or ten farms, about forty 
miles from San Antonio, upon the Guadalupe, at the junction 
of the Sister creeks and the crossing of the Fredericksburg 
road. The farmers are all men of education, and have chosen 
their residences, the first by chance, the latter by choice, within 
social distance of one another. Up and down the Guadalupe, 
within long walking range, are a dozen or twenty more, single 
men, living in huts or caves, earning a tough livelihood chiefly 
by splitting shingles. They are of the same stamp, but of less 
social disposition, disheartened, or tired of circumstances, a sort 
of political hermits, who have retired into the woods, and live 
with one companion, or in complete solitude. 

The gentlemen we met were two of these singular settlers ; one 
of them, the schoolmaster, a Berlin student ; the other a Baron, 
over whose Texan " domain" we were actually passing. He took 
us to his castle, which was near by. It was a new log-house. 
The family occupied a lean-to in the rear, as the roof was not 
quite finished. Here we were presented to the lady, who received 
us with cordial politeness, holding up, in commendation of the 
climate, a bouncing baby, seven days old, weighing, she said, 
three times as much as babies at home. 



192 ' A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

During a luncheon of bread and broth, we were interrupted by 
the clatter of hoofs. On looking out, we found a dozen men on 
horseback, partly Americans, from the next settlement. They 
were on their way to the Dale, to attend a Justice's Court. 
Draining our cups we joined the cavalcade. 

A few minutes brought us to the judge's house, a double log- 
cabin, upon a romantic rocky bluff of the Guadalupe. He came 
out to receive us, and after converting his dining-room into a tem- 
porary court-room, for the reception of the legal arrival, resumed 
his long pipe, and gave us a special reception in his own apart- 
ment. We had interrupted him at work at notes upon a meteoro- 
logical table, and availed ourselves of his judicial absence to look 
over his observations, and to make notes of such as interested us. 
They will be found in the Appendix. 

Court over, our host rejoined us. The case had been one of 
great simplicity, requiring a few words only, to fix the value of 
a dog which had been shot and to reconcile all parties. This 
function of a peacemaker, we found, was one that was a habitual 
blessing to the neighborhood, with the judge — a certain large- 
ness in his nature sufficing to quell all expressions of ill-feeling 
and put an end to silly discords. 

He was partly bald, but seemed to have an imperturbable and 
happy good-nature that gave him eternal youth. A genial cul- 
tivation beamed from his face. He had been a man of marked 
attainments at home (an intimate associate with Humboldt and a 
friend of Goethe's Bettina), and kept up here a warm love for 
nature. His house was the very picture of good-nature, science, 
and back- woods. Eomances and philosophies were piled in heaps 
in a corner of the logs. A dozen guns and rifles, and a Madonna, 
in oil, after Murillo, filled a blank on the wall. Deer-skins 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 193 

covered the bed, clothes hung about upon antlers, snake-skins 
were stretched to dry upon the bedstead, barometer, whisky, pow- 
der-horns, and specimens of Saxony wool, occupied the table.* 

The dinner was Texan, of corn -bread and frijoles, with coffee, 
served in tin cups, but the salt was Attic, and the talk was worthy 
of golden goblets. 

We passed, as may be imagined, a rarely pleasant day. A 
stroll to the Guadalupe showed us the corn-field and the sheep — a 
small flock of the finest Saxony. They had been selected with 
care, had arrived safely, and had now been, for two or three years, 
shifting for themselves. They had thriven well, but the flock of 
twelve had not much increased, owing to the depredations of 
panthers and Indians. A German shepherd had been shot by 
Indians in the early days of the settlement, and it was afterwards 
impossible to give, to so small a flock, the constant attention they 
needed. They had been, however, very profitable for their num- 
bers, from the constant demand for thorough-bred bucks. 

THE UPPER GUADALUPE. 

The Guadalupe was even more beautiful here than below, quick 
and perfectly transparent. I have rarely seen any resort of wood- 
nymphs more perfect than the bower of cypress branches and 
vines that overhang the mouth of the Sister creek at the ford 
near the house. You want a silent canoe to penetrate it ; yet 
would be loth to desecrate its deep beauty. The water of both 

* Otto von Behr has since gone to heaven. About, a year after our visit 
to the Dale he went to Germany to spend a few months, and on his return was 
seized with an illness, at sea, which terminated fatally, after his ship had entered 
the Mississippi. A touching notice of his life and death appeared in a number 
of the San Antonio Zeitung of March, 1855. His loss, out of such a settlement, 
it may be conceived, is irreparable. 

D 



194 • A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

streams lias a delicate, cool, blue-green color; the rocky banks 
are clean and inviting ; the cypresses rise superbly from the very 
edge, like ornamental columns. We found, while shooting in 
the river bottoms, some real monarchs of this species — (c. distichd). 
One of them, which had fallen, was at least fourteen feet in dia- 
meter. Its heart, as is frequently the case, was unsound. It is 
one of the most common trees along the creeks of this region. 
The wood is similar to that of the pine, but less valuable for the 
purposes of the lumberman. The trunks of the older trees rise 
branchless to a great height, having a bark remarkably clean and 
bright, and a foliage feeble and quivering, like that of the larch. 

In the afternoon, several neighbors had dropped in, and 
there was some pleasant dispute as to what roof should offer 
vis shelter. We were, finally, carried off by Mr. T., whose 
farm lies uppermost on the Guadalupe. A somewhat cir- 
cuitous route thither led us to a high hill, from which we saw 
the valley to great advantage. The farm lies in a bend of the 
river, and has an agreeable proportion of timber and of rich 
meadow. The house, of logs, is large, warm, and substantial. 

The evening's talk ran upon the principles of government, 
and kept us late. Mr. T. had been a member of the Frankfort 
Parliament. He had arrived in this country with little else 
available than a hopeful energy, but with this capital had be- 
come, in a few years, what, in Texas, was considered a wealthy 
man, owning large tracts of land, and able to live freely upon 
his rents. 

FARMING IN THE DALE. 

We rode with him, next day, over the Dale. The land is 
much broken, but well wooded and drained. In each little val- 
ley are one or more small prairies adapted to cultivation, and 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 195 

the- hills are thickly covered with grass. It is here not the mes- 
quit, but a taller and coarser leaf, rich in summer but affording 
poor nourishment in winter. Cattle, however, manage to find 
their own subsistence through the year, browsing, during the 
cold, in the river bottoms, where there is always some verdure 
as well as protection from the wind. The soil for cultivation is 
excellent. The principal crop is corn, the yield being thirty to 
sixty bushels, from what would be considered at the North a 
very small outlay of labor. Wheat has been introduced with 
such success as to induce the settlers to send for harvesting and 
thrashing-machines. The crop this year had been bad, owing to 
dry weather. One of the greatest sources of profit is from 
droves of hogs, which increase with remarkable rapidity, and 
pick their living from the roots and nuts of the river bottoms. 
The distribution of a few ears of corn at night brings them all 
every day to the crib. Tobacco is cultivated by the settlers for 
their own use, but none has yet been prepared for market. 

A WELL-CULTIVATED SETTLEMENT. 

We called upon several of the settlers. The first house was 
a surprise — a neat, stuccoed, Swiss cottage, almost the only 
thing of the kind we had seen in Texas. Its proprietor came 
from the plough to welcome us — literally, a free laborer. We 
found within, a thousand evidences of taste such as the exterior 
led us to expect. Another short ride took us to a large stuc- 
coed log-house, near the bank of one of the Sister creeks. 
Here lives a professor who divides his time between his farm and 
his library. The delicious brook water has been turned to ac- 
count by him for the cure of disease, and his house is thrown 
open to patients. To any friend of mine who has faith in pure 



196 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

air and pure water, and is obliged to run from a Northern win- 
ter, I cannot recommend a pleasanter spot to pass his exile than 
this. 

Evening found us in the largest house of the settlement, and a 
furious norther suddenly rising, combined with the attractive re- 
ception we met to compel us to stay two days without moving. 

Mr. D., our host, was a man of unusually large education, 
and, having passed some years at school in England, spoke Eng- 
lish in perfection. Before the Eevolution he had controlled an 
estate on which the taxes were $10,000. He had become a 
popular leader, and was placed at the head of the temporary 
government of his Duchy. When the reaction came, all was 
swept away, and, exiling himself, he came to settle here. Now, 
working with his own hands in the Texan backwoods, he finds 
life not less pleasant than before. 

His house stands upon a prominence, which commands the 
beautiful valley in both directions. His fields are just below. 
He had this year cultivated sixty acres, and with the help of the 
forenoons of his two sons, of fourteen and fifteen, who are at 
school the rest of the day, had produced 2,500 bushels of corn, 
besides some cotton, wheat, and tobacco. These sons were as 
fine pictures of youthful yeomen as can be imagined — tall, erect, 
well knit, with intelligent countenances, spirited, ingenuous, gen- 
tle and manly. In speaking of his present circumstances, he 
simply regretted that he could not give them all the advantages 
of education that he had himself had. But he added that he 
would much rather educate them to be independent and self-re- 
liant, able and willing to live by their own labor, than to have 
them ever feel themselves dependent on the favor of others. If 
he could secure them, here, minds free from prejudice, which 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 197 

would entirely disregard the conclusions of others in their own 
study of right and truth, and spirits which would sustain their 
individual conclusions without a thought of the consequences, he 
should be only thankful to the circumstances that exiled him. 

Our supper was furnished by the boys, in the shape of a fat 
turkey from the river bottoms. This one made eighty-five that 
had been shot by them during the winter. Among other feats 
of theirs at the gun, we were told of two adventures with pan- 
thers. Made aware, at dusk, one night, by the dogs, that some- 
thing unusual was around the house, the two boys started with 
their guns to see what it might be. Light enough was left to 
show them a panther, who retreated, and, pressed by the dogs, 
took to a tree in the bottoms. He was ensconced in the 
branches of a cotton-wood that hung obliquely over the stream. 
It was too dark to see his exact position, and taking places upon 
the bent trunk, to prevent his descent, the boys agreed to keep 
guard till the moon rose. But they were tired with work, and 
daylight found them both asleep where they were — the panther 
missing ! He had either walked over their bodies or dropped 
into the river. 

Oi^ the other occasion, the boys were alone with their mother, 
Mr. D. having gone on a two or three days' excursion. They were 
awakened in the night by a stir about the out-houses. There 
had been signs of a panther about the hog-yard for several days, 
and they sprang out as they were, seizing their guns, in the hope 
of putting an end to the marauds. The night was pitchy dark, 
and stealing cautiously along, they came suddenly upon an enor- 
mous panther, within a few yards of the door. The panther 
gave one bound into a tree, probably more startled than them- 
selves. He was quite invisible, and perfectly still. One of the 



198 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

boys thought of a lantern, and, running back, found his mother 
already up and alarmed. "A lantern," he shouted, in a furious 
whisper, and ran back to the tree. The mother appeared with 
the lantern at the door, and came, in her night-dress, to the tree. 
What would she have thought at court, five years before, of hold- 
ing a lantern, to shoot a panther 1 She held it high. Both boys 
took slow aim at the glaring eye-balls, which alone were visible 
above them. One pulled; the gun snapped. A quick jerk of 
the eye-balls gave warning of a spring, when a ball from the 
other rifle brought the panther dead to their feet. It proved, by 
daylight, the largest that had been known in the settlement, mea- 
suring nine feet from nose to tip of tail, and weighing, by esti- 
mate, 250 lbs. 

After supper, there were numerous accessions of neighbors, 
and we passed a merry and most interesting evening. There was 
waltzing, to the tones of a fine piano, and music of the highest 
sort, classic and patriotic. The principal concerted pieces of 
Don Giovanni were given, and all parts well sustained. After 
the ladies had retired, the men had over the whole stock of stu- 
dent-songs, until all were young again. No city of fatherland, 
we thought, could show a better or more cheerful evening com- 
pany. One of the party said to me : "I think, if one or two 
of the German tyrants I could mention, could look in upon us 
now, they would display some chagrin at our enjoyment, for there 
is hardly a gentleman in this company whom they have not con- 
demned to death, or to imprisonment for life." 

In exile, but free, these men make the most of life. 

I have never before so highly appreciated the value of a well- 
educated mind, as in observing how they were lifted above the 
mere accident of life. Laboring like slaves, (I have seen them 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 199 

working side by side, in adjoining fields,) their wealth gone ; de- 
prived of the enjoyment of art, and, in a great degree, of lite- 
rature ; removed from their friends, and their great hopeful de- 
signs so sadly prostrated, " their mind to them a kingdom is," in 
which they find exhaustless resources of enjoyment. I have been 
assured, I doubt not, with sincerity, by several of them, that 
never in Europe had they had so much satisfaction — so much in- 
tellectual enjoyment of life, as here. With the opportunity per- 
mitted them, and the ability to use it, of living independently 
by their own labor — with that social and political freedom for 
themselves which they wished to gain for all their countrymen, 
they have within them means of happiness that wealth and prince- 
ly power alone can never command. 

But how much of their cheerfulness, I thought, may arise 
from having gained, during this otherwise losing struggle to 
themselves, the certain consciousness of being courageously loyal 
to their intellectual determinations — their private convictions of 
right, justice, and truth. 

Truly, it has seemed to me, there may be a higher virtue than 
mere resignation, and our times may breed men as worthy of re- 
verence as the martyrs of past ages. 

What had not these men lost — voluntarily resigned — that 
mean, and depraved, and wicked souls are most devout to gain. 
And for what ! For the good of their fellow men — for their 
convictions of truth and justice. Under orders of their con- 
science. In faithfulness to their intellect. And they have failed 
in every earthly purpose, but are not cast down — are not un- 
happy. What shall we think of those from whom life was also 
taken — who as cheerfully and bravely gave their life also ? 

I was looking, in a room here, at some portraits of gentlemen 



200 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and ladies. " Those are some of my relatives that remain in 
Germany." "And who are these?" I asked, pointing to a col- 
lection, on the opposite wall, of lithograph and crayon-sketched 
heads. " These are some of my friends. That one — and that 
one — and that one — have been shot ; that one — and that one — 
are in prison for life ; that one — poor fellow — is in Siberia ; and 
that one — he has been made to suffer more than all the others, I 
am afraid." 

I once, when in Germany, met an American clergyman, who, 
I have since seen, has been sent to Asia, to teach the Hindoos 
Christianity. He was good enough to inform me, that all the 
German Eepublicans were mischievous, cut-throat infidels, who 
well deserved to be shot, hung, and imprisoned for life ; and that 
I very much wronged those who were doing this for them, in 
some feelings I was expressing. He had dined, only the day be- 
fore, with several of the higher classes, with a number of Prussian 
and Austrian officers, and he never met with more gentlemanly 
and kind-hearted men. When I mentioned the fact, that one of 
these officers had, a few days before, knocked down upon the 
pavement, with a blow of his fist, an aged laboring man, for 
coming, guiltlessly, into the street with red stockings, he pre- 
sumed that he had thought it his duty to do so ; harsh measures had 
to be used to support the laws, when the people were so exceed- 
ingly depraved. He did not alter very much my feelings about 
the circumstance, and I confess that a few days with these refu- 
gees in Texas has been worth more to me than many sermons. 

AROUND FREDERICKSBURG. 

Amid such hospitality of such men, the time we had intended 
to devote to an examination of Fredericksburg and the country 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 201 

north of it, slipped by, and we were compelled to return to San 
Antonio without seeing it. The village, we learned, was quite 
similar in character to jSTeu-Braunfels,but on a much smaller scale 
containing about 700 inhabitants, who are chiefly Catholics. The 
country around them, although not equal to that below, was 
good, very fertile along the creek and river bottoms, and afforded 
excellent pasturage. Following the Llano and San Saba, down- 
wards, the land becomes richer and better wooded, and the region 
of the Upper Colorado was described to us as being one of the 
finest parts of the state. This district, now Llano and San Saba 
Counties, has since been much taken up by emigrants, principally 
planters, who have located, as much as possible, with reference 
to the proposed line of the Pacific Eailroad. The outposted 
settlers here, however, are still much exposed to attacks of 
Indians. Fredericksburg itself has grown rapidly during the 
last year or two. The population of the town is now 1,200 ; all 
Germans. The adjacent country has also become closely settled. 

From Fredericksburg starts the upper road to El Paso. It 
is called forty miles shorter than the lower road, but as water is 
scarce, it is less used. 

Mr. Bartlett, the Boundary Commissioner, followed this route. 
Of this vicinity, he says : " The soil continues of good quality, 
until the San Saba is reached. From that, to the north fork of 
Brady's Creek, it is not so good. The grass is generally light to 
the latter place, with less wood and water, though enough for 
parties traveling." We then reach " the great table-land of 
Texas, where there is little rain and a poor soil." 

The furthermost German settlements now reach the San Saba. 

The extreme settlements of the northern part of the state are near 

the clear fork of the Brazos, at Fort Belknap, where there is an 
9* 



202 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Indian reservation of forty leagues, and enough American settlers 
to have formed the new County of Young. These outposts are 
connected by a road, now in considerable use, which passes by 
Forts McKavett, Chadbourne, and Phantom Hill. A line of 
settlements will soon follow, and the Indians will then be confined 
to the great desert plains, which can furnish them w T ith little game, 
and, probably, no cultivated food. Starvation will compel sub- 
mission or emigration, and this great district will become open 
to peaceable occupation. 

UP-COUNTRY FARMING. 

In the month of March, after our return from the coast, we made 
a second excursion to the mountains, by ourselves, partly to pass 
away idle time, partly to renew the pleasant intercourse of our 
first visit, partly in order to learn more definitely, for our own 
benefit, what were the prospects for a northern man who should 
^x on this point for a future home, in case he should be driven 
to a milder climate. Western Texas had charmed us ; and of 
all Western Texas the Upper Guadalupe seemed, all things con- 
sidered, the most attractive point. I know of no other spot in a 
Southern state where white agricultural laborers can be hired, 
than the German neighborhoods of Texas ; in fact, no other spot 
where the relative advantages of white or slave labor can be even 
discussed in peace. From a thorough examination of Southern 
agriculture, we had become convinced that slave-labor is every- 
where uneconomical and cruel, and, to a man of Northern habits, 
to the last degree, an irritating annoyance, which, when choosing 
for a lifetime, he should not voluntarily inflict upon himself. 
Here new and old emigrants can be hired in all capacities, as in 
Michigan or Iowa. 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS, 203 

Within the German neighborhood, the mountains presented 
the principal advantage of being free from the malarious diseases 
of the lower country. Not one of the inhabitants of Sisterdale 
had had intermittent fever, or had known one day's sickness since 
their settlement. The elevated country, also, offered purer water, 
a more invigorating winter, and a cooler and more steady breeze 
during the long summer. The dry hillside furnished the best 
range for sheep, and if the position w 7 ere chosen not too far from 
the edge of the great mesquit prairies, no pasture in the world 
could rival this for cattle. The cultivable soil was adapted to 
wheat — an indispensable luxury. The social privilegesj'if defi- 
cient in some respects, such as access to good public schools, were 
certainly superior to most back-woods, or even agricultural resi- 
dences. San Antonio, except the principal port, the most popu- 
lous and well-stocked town of Texas, would be within a day's 
ride. Within visiting-reach would be Europeans, of broad culti- 
vation and genial hospitality. 

One of the gentlemen of Sisterdale gave us his own reasons for 
his choice of a residence, and they will not be inappropriate here. 
He was not an exile, and had even been offered office under the 
reactionary government after the events of 1848. But he had 
taken active part on the side of liberal progress, and, well aware 
that the aristocratic government, once finding itself firmly rees- 
tablished, would not forget its enemies, he determined to look for 
a home in America while he had the opportunity. He set out 
with the intention of traveling rapidly over the whole country, 
and afterwards examining more carefully such points as had at- 
tracted him. He landed at Boston. The town pleased him, but 
the farms were too cold and sterile. With the country around 
New York he had been delighted, and for a pleasant residence 



204 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

only he should have chosen Staten Island or Kockland County- 
over any other position in America ; but he was determined to 
engage in agriculture, and could not persuade himself, after inves- 
tigation, that the sales from a farm here would pay even the 
interest on its cost. The scenery of Vermont and Champlain 
was very beautiful, but the long winter too forbidding. Next he 
was induced to stop in Michigan ; but, on examination, he found 
two objections : the rich land was low and, unhealthy ; the high 
land was gravelly, and with gravel he had previously had expe- 
rience enough. With Illinois he was better pleased, as an agri- 
cultural country, than any he had seen at the North, particularly 
with the high lands along the Mississippi, at no great distance 
from St. Louis. He then traveled through most of the Southern 
states, liking extremely their sunny luxuriance. The hospitali- 
ties of Louisiana, and the Creole life there, he had enjoyed vastly, 
perhaps from its contrast with his own nature, and would have 
been tempted to settle there, but he had become, as he traveled, 
disgusted with slave-labor, and the impossibility of using any 
other was evident. He then rode through Texas. On reaching 
the Germans he was so thoroughly delighted with the situation 
that he abandoned any further search, and, making a purchase 
of a large tract in the mountains, returned at once for his family. 
He remains entirely satisfied that his choice was just. 

His farm had, for profit, fully equaled his expectations. I 
have mentioned with how little labor he had secured 2,500 bushels 
of corn, upon sixty acres of ground. The price, unfortunately, 
this year, had never been known to be so low. It was worth, on 
the spot, but twenty-five cents per bushel. But none was sold 
at this price, and in March we had the pleasure of paying eighty 
cents per bushel for what we purchased for the use of our animals 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 205 

in the neighborhood, and, not long after, the price reached and 
remained at one dollar. But a new farm demands a great outlay 
for the first preparation of the land, for the residence and the 
stock, and readily absorbs, for some years, all the cash it can 
produce. 

Land, in this neighborhood, was generally held in tracts of 
from 600 to 2,000 acres. In the mountains but one-fifth to one- 
third of this would be handsomely-lying surface suitable for the 
plough. The price of land varied, of course, in proportion. 
Tracts of 1,000 acres, well watered, and containing one-quarter 
good land, were valued at about $2 per acre ; in 1856, probably, 
$2 50. Most of those upon the Upper Guadalupe have a front 
upon the river. For a stock or sheep-farm but few acres are 
necessary. Forty acres would probably suffice for all desirable 
purposes, such as preventing a disagreeable contiguity and pre- 
serving a convenient outlet to " the range" or great public pas- 
ture, as well as for growing sufficient grain and vegetable food 
for the family and work-horses. The following are the statis- 
tical results of our inquiries : 

COST OF A STOCK AND SHEEP-FARM. 

Land— 1,000 acres, at $2 50, - - - - $2,500 

House and furniture, 750 

Fencing and breaking 50 acres, by contract, - 500 

Horses, working oxen, and tools, - 350 

Stock-cattle 200, at $9 per head, - - - 1,800 

Sheep, say 650 Illinois ewes, at $4, - 2,600 

Improved bucks, 500 

$9,000 

ANNUAL PRODUCTION. 

23 cows, at $20, $460 

23 steers, at $20, 460- 



206 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Lambs, say 600 improved, at $4 00, - - - 2,400 

Wool, say 1,300 lbs., at .25, - 325— 2,725 

— $3,645 

^ , . (2 farmers, - $360 

Deduct ttti 



2 farmers, 

wages, < \ 

(. 2 sbepherc 



shepherds, - - - - 360— $720 
" interest on stock, etc., $5,500, at 8 

per cent., 440 

1,160 

Clear returns, $2,485 

(The farm, say $3,500, will pay 8 per cent, in increased value.) 

COST OF A COTTON PLANTATION. 

Land— 1,000 acres, at $2 50, - $2,500 

House and furniture, 600 

Fencing and ploughing 70 acres, by contract, - 700 

Gin, press mules, harness, and tools, - 800 

Slaves— 2 prime hands, $1,000, - - - 2,000 

4 half hands, $600, (herding women) - 2,400 



$9,000 



ANNUAL PRODUCTION. 

At 3 bales per hand, 450 lbs. each, 5,400 lbs., at 6 cents, - - $324 

" " at 8 cents, - - 432 

At 4 bales " " 7,200 lbs., at 6 cents, - - 432 

" " " at 8 cents, - - 576 

At 5 bales " " 9,000 lbs., at 6 cents, - - 540 

u " " at 8 cents, - - 720 

The average, $522 

Increase in negroes, 7 per cent., 308 

$830 
Deduct clothing and expenses, $150, 

" interest on capital, at 8 per cent, $720 - - 870 

Loss, $40 

I have added a similar estimate for a cotton plantation of the 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 207 

same capital. The contrast is very strongly in favor of the farm. 
The plantation barely pays its eight per cent., at five bales per 
hand, netting six cents at the press. The farm, losing eight per 
cent, of lambs and twenty-five per cent, of calves, pays thirty per 
cent. 

It is difficult to fix an average price for cotton. Where land 
can yet be bought at $2 50 per acre, it is probable that the 
freight and charges on cotton hauled to the coast would destroy 
all profit. To be within profitable reach of market, the planter 
must pay $5 to $10 per acre for a suitable tract of 1,000 acres. 
This would essentially interfere with the necessary investment in 
labor. 

In this comparison each is supposed to have average luck. 
Each is understood to provide subsistence, for the first season, 
for the family and laborers, and afterwards is supposed to obtain 
the same from the soil, which he finds previously prepared for 
operations by contract. In practice, a plantation is very often 
compelled to import both corn and pork, while, from the field 
cultivated by the farm workmen, with some help from the shep- 
herds, there should be a surplus of corn, beans, and pork for 
sale. 

The following presents the same comparison on a large scale. 
So extensive a capital has, perhaps, never been applied to sheep- 
husbandry in this country, but in Mexico far larger farms exist, 
and such are probably destined to be established in Texas, along 
the edge of the great Western plains. The same capital invest- 
ed in a cotton plantation is not rare at the South. I have been 
told that there are, in one county (Adams), in Mississippi, Hve 
. men who make over five thousand bales each. 



208 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



SHEEP ON A LARGE SCALE. 

Land— 1,000 acres, at $2, 

House and furniture, - 

Fencing and ploughing, by contract, 

Tools, horses, wagons, - 

24,125 Northern sheep, at $4, 

Improved bucks, 



Capital outlay, - 

ANNUAL PRODUCTION. 

40,000 lbs. wool, at 25 cents, - 

18,000 lambs (25 per cent, lost), at $4, - 

Deduct wages, 100 Mexican shepherds, at SI 80, 

10 head " 500, 

1 bailiff, - - 1,400, 

" 14 farm hands, - 200, 

" 1 farm foreman, - 500, 

Deduct interest on $115,000, at 8 per cent., - 



$2,000 

4,000 

2,000 

1,500 

96,500 

14,000 

$120,000 

$10,000 
72,000 



$18,000 
5,000 
1,400 
2,800 
500 
9,200 



-$82,000 



36,900 



Clear returns, 



$45,100 



COTTON ON A LARGE SCALE. 

Land— 2,000 acres, bottom, at $8 50, 

50 prime field hands, at $1,000, 

50 half hands, at - 600, 

50 quarter hands, at - 300, 

House and furniture, - 

Quarters and overseers' houses, 

Mules and tools, ----., 



Capital outlay, - 

ANNUAL PRODUCTION. 

At 4 bales per hand, of 450 lbs., 158,400 lbs., at 8 cents, 
Increase of slaves, at 5 per cent., $4,750 - 



- $17,000 

- 50,000 

- 30,000 

- 15,000 
4,000 
2,000 
2,000 

- $120,000 



- $12,672 
4,750 



$17,422 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 209 



Deduct annual expenses, $1,000 

" interest on $120,000, at 8 per cent., - - 9,600 



10,600 



Clear returns, $6,822 

THE COMANCHE SPRING ROAD. 

On this second excursion to the mountains, we took the old, 
now disused, Fredericksburg road, which passes by Comanche 
spring. We saw but one house after leaving San Antonio till 
we reached the spring. This was a small stone building, in the 
centre of a farm, some four miles from the city. A solitary 
Mexican, who was hoeing corn, directed us on our way. The 
old road-marks were grown over with grass, and quite indistinct. 
At Comanche spring, we found a German stock-farmer, with a 
considerable establishment. The spring gushes from the rocks 
of a hillside, furnishing a great abundance of clear water. It 
was covered with a roof, and flowed into large limestone tanks, 
for what purpose we did not learn. The road had hitherto fol- 
lowed a long, narrow valley, through steep hills, which furnished 
excellent pasture, but no land for agriculture. We here struck 
to the right, across the dry bed of the Cibolo, attempting to fol- 
low a road which should bring us obliquely to the Guadalupe, 
some ten miles below Sisterdale. But we soon lost the trail, and 
at night were obliged to camp without water. In the morning 
we procured water from a pool in the bed of the Cibolo, whose 
general course we had followed at no great distance, and then 
set out by compass toward the northwest, across the grassy 
hills. Taking the first entering valley that offered in that direc- 
tion, we left the Cibolo bottom, which is broad and fertile, but 
wanting in wood and water, and, continually ascending where 



210 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the best ground offered, found ourselves, after a good deal of 
labor, upon a rocky ridge that overlooked the Guadalupe. The 
surface was agitated in steep waves as far as the eye could reach, 
and with its broken lights and its silvery ribbon of water, wind- 
ing many miles away, made a rich and effective, though wild, 
landscape. We marked one of the few settlements in sight, and, 
after scrambling down a mass of broken rock, found ourselves 
at the head of a valley which opened directly towards it. On 
our way down we saw many deer, but were always warily seen 
by them first. 

FORDING THE GUADALUPE. 

At last we reached a trail, coming from the southeast, which 
entered the bed of the Guadalupe, at the foot of the valley, and 
passed on the opposite side to a house — the settlement we had 
seen from above. The water appeared deep and swift, and the 
trail on the opposite bank rose some distance below. The en- 
trance seemed to be by a perpendicular jump of some ten feet, 
and not one of our animals would approach it. We fell to 
shouting for directions, and soon a man came from a corn-field, 
and indicated across the roar a private entrance through a mud- 
hole. Fanny, as the tallest and most agile, was detailed to explore 
the depth of water. But she was also the most excitable, and, 
after nearly breaking her legs among stumps and decaying 
branches in the deep mud-hole, was very unwilling to breast the 
furious clear stream. At length, by patient urgency, and step 
by step, she advanced, staggering with the force of the current, 
and slipping upon the smooth boulders of the bottom, wetting 
me to the thighs. In the centre she fell, and, recovering herself, 
turned her head to the current, and refused to budge, standing, 
yet on the very point of swimming, apparently poised to a 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 211 

nicety between the contending forces of buoyancy, gravity, and 
the impulse of the torrent, and ready to yield to the strongest 
at the slightest movement. From one side, I was recommended, 
by signs, to come on, from the other to come back. The posi- 
tion became disagreeable and chilly, not to say ridiculous. So, 
when the mare had somewhat recovered her breath, shaking my 
feet clear of the stirrups, I gave her the spurs with such cruelty 
as I was capable of using. The cool suspense was soon termi- 
nated by a full cold bath, for after a momentary stagger and 
plunge, over we rolled, helter-skelter, puffing, sneezing, kicking, 
and striking out among one another generally. Luckily, the 
mare's head was towards the further bank, and partly dragged 
by the bridle, and partly scrambling and swimming, on my own 
hook, I soon emerged without losing hold of the mare or my 
temper. Not wishing to have my exertion go for nothing, I pro- 
cured a stout bag of corn at the house, and, on a second trial, 
crossed without difficulty. The additional weight, perhaps, se- 
cured us a better foothold. If so, the idea should have occurred 
to us of carrying over the others, puss-back, for the long legs 
of the mare would certainly have reached and held bottom had 
she been well ballasted from above. As it was, it was useless to 
think of getting over dry on the short pegs of Mr. Brown and 
the pony, and, after drying the wet clothing and distributing the 
corn among our four-footed companions, we proceeded upon a 
trail which led up the right bank. After some six miles it also 
took to the river. As it was now near dusk, and I was indiffer- 
ently disposed for so active a hydropathic course as that to 
which an attempt to follow up the examination into the depth 
and current-force here might have led, we camped upon the 
bank. 



212 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

A WANDERING JOURNEYMAN. 

We had not been long at rest before we were joined by a 
short, active German, with a pack, who inquired of us the direc- 
tion to San Antonio. It appeared he was a German mechanic, 
who had recently arrived in Texas, and hearing that there was 
a German settlement without a blacksmith in the mountains, had 
set out to walk there, and offer his services in exchange for a 
plot of land where he might raise food for his family. He had 
lost his way, and had wandered all day along the river, swim- 
ming it twice with his clothes upon his head. He had left his 
wife sick, and had already been out two days longer than he an- 
ticipated, and was only anxious to return. We indicated the 
shortest practicable route across the hills, but, as the sun was 
setting, advised him to share the hospitality of our tent, and 
start again in the morning. This he accepted, setting himself 
at once at work to get wood from the bottom, and helping us 
through the preparation and the demolition of the supper like an 
adept, adding a private pone of corn-bread from his pack. From 
his story, it appeared he had been a traveling apprentice, and 
had found himself in Pesth on the outbreak of the Kevolution in 
Hungary. He was ordered home to Saxony, and, traveling 
slowly, had reached Munich at the close of the war, where he 
was allowed to remain. There he married, and when his time 
was finished, became an emigrant. In the morning he was off 
before sunrise, heading for Comanche spring. 

currie's creek. 
Before we were ready to start, next day, a negro came to the 
opposite side of the ford, who told us it was easy and safe. We 
found it so, but too deep for our hampers. We were obliged to 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 213 

unpack them, and carry the contents in successive trips of the 
mare. Not far beyond the thick wood of the bottom of the 
north side, we came upon Carrie's Creek, and found an Ameri- 
can settler, with some negroes. He is owner of an adjacent saw- 
mill, rented and managed by a German, who appeared a man of 
education, and, we learned, was one of the exiles who had re- 
treated to the Guadalupe. At the last freshet, the whole roof 
of the mill, which is on high ground, and has its power from 
the creek, was covered by the back-water of the river. The chief 
wood sawed is cypress, and all lumber finds a ready market. 

Our road followed Currie's Creek, a pleasant brook, bordered 
by meadows, here and there interrupted by ledges of rock, ex- 
tending from the hills, and walling the roadside with stunted live- 
oak and cedar. We stopped, a few miles on, near three or four 
families of American farmers, new settlers, still engaged in finish- 
ing their houses. The rocky hills here extend in bluffs to the 
Guadalupe ; the creek bottom is wide, and covered with trees, 
across whose tops we looked from the dry terrace on which we 
camped. 

Going on next day, we gradually mounted the ridge which 
sheds the water of the creek, and, from the highest point of the 
road, ascended a little peak not far off. The view was even 
wider than that on the other side the Guadalupe. The whole 
upper valley now lay before us, with those of the tw 7 o Sister 
creeks and a wild array of tumbled hills to the north. The 
valleys appeared densely wooded, with here and there a green 
and fertile prairie. With the glass we could distinguish three 
houses in the dale, and behind us the settlements we had left 
three hours before. A dwarf live-oak reached even these sum- 
mits, with the cactus and the aloes. A coarse, thin grass cover- 



214 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ed all the soil. We were again much struck with the artificial * 
look of the near hills, and several times in walking stopped, 
thinking we had discovered old mason work in the blocks of ap- 
parently hewn stone we climbed over. 

As we descended, we found thicker grass, and abundant 
springs, guaranteeing its verdure through the summer. There 
could not be better range for sheep. For other purposes it is of 
no value. 

We met here the first snake, of the season, a bright, glistening 
fellow, basking upon a ledge. We interrupted his siesta with a 
pistol-ball, as he seemed to us an ugly customer, measuring some 
seven feet in length, but we were afterwards familiar with his 
species, which is quite harmless to anything else than eggs, for 
which they have an irresistible hankering. 

VENISON AT LAST. 

On one of the grassy slopes we came upon a deer. He had 
not seen us ; venison was certain. Dismounting quietly, we led 
the horses a few rods back, the ground covering them. Then 
creeping directly up, as the wind favored, in the cover of a patch 
of bashes, I saw the deer still unalarmed, and within easy rifle- 
range. Now, it is necessary to confess, that down to this time, 
we had not eaten one morsel of venison of our own shooting. 
Many times before, after long preliminaries, I had got within 
what I supposed was fair " Sharp" range, and had blazed away 
without result, until I began to have a certain distrust of " Sharp." 
It might do very well, as I knew, at a target, but seemed to be 
less reliable, for some reason, on the open prairie. But here 
there was no occasion for long range, the deer was within almost 
pistol-shot. A barrel of buck might have been a trifle safer, but 
as there certainly could be no mistake now, Sharp should have 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 215 

the -credit. I drew a fine bead upon a well-defined spot behind 
the left shoulder, thinking of how the venison should be packed, 
and the pleasure we should have, should any of the friends in 
the Dale visit our camp, in offering them a tender steak, as if it 
were a matter of course for us to be never without wild meat, 
anc l — but it seemed too much like a butcher, dashing in the ribs 
of the innocent brute, cropping the tender grass just there, all 
guileless and unsuspicious. However, there was no denying the 
advantages to mankind. I raised the muzzle again to place, and 
taking a second cool and deliberate aim, (I would have staked 
anything on winning at a target) pulled. Crack! Putting 
my hand to my knife, I stepped forward, to put an end to 
any brief misery I had created, when I saw my venison going 
at a spanking rate, down the mountain, a stiff white tail, deri- 
sively hoisted, like the colors of a runaway prize, behind him. 
The Doctor, who had lain looking on with some envy, was alrea- 
dy mounted, and driving the mule down the road, in speechless 
contempt. Quickly breeching another cartridge, I sent a spiteful 
ball after the flying tail, by this time a mile away, and not wait- 
ing to see if it caught the spindle-legged rascal, resumed my 
seat in the saddle, and a rear position on the road, just beyond 
conversational distance, having, probably, some idea of the feel- 
ings of a centaur when he rejoins his companions with his tail 
between his legs. 

A FIGHT WITH A PRAIRIE FIRE. 

On reaching the dale, we crossed the creek, and selected our 
camping ground on a narrow slope of prairie, near the foot of a 
rocky spur of the mountains. One stream ran parallel with the 
hillside, at about two hundred yards distance. 



216 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We baited at a spot where three or four large live-oaks, growing 
at the foot of the hill, threw a shade upon the grass. Having 
staked the horses out to graze, we proceeded to make our camp. 
I unrolled the tent, and cut stakes to set it up, while the Doctor 
began to burn the grass off a small circle of the ground, that we 
might have a place to cook our supper upon, without danger of 
setting fire to the prairie at large. There was a strong souther- 
ly wind blowing; the grass had not been at all fed down, and 
was the thickest and heaviest we had anywhere seen, and perfect- 
ly dead and dry. Just as the fire was touched to the grass, 
there came an unusually violent gust, and in a moment it was 
burning furiously. He immediately attempted to smother it, and 
fearing that it would get beyond his control, called to me to as- 
sist him. I caught up a corn sack, and in half a minute was at 
his side, but the fire had already spread several feet, and when 
we tried to prevent its progress to leeward, we were almost imme- 
diately so suffocated by heat and smoke from flames to windward, 
that we were obliged to come back. In another moment the fire 
was leaping along the top of the grass before the wind, and we 
saw that in this direction it was master of the prairie. 

The fire extended itself in an ellipse, slowly to windward, 
rapidly across the wind, furiously before it. Our first care was 
to prevent its reaching our tent, ammunition, and camp-stores, 
which were to windward. The only artillery we could make use 
of was our corn-sacks ; striking hard with these upon the flame 
at any particular point, it would be blown out and smothered, 
and the progress of the fire at that point prevented, until it was 
again reached by the flame from the side. 

Starting together, we extinguished the flame at the extreme 
windward point to which it had reached, and then proceeding 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 217 

from each other each way, we continued to put it out, and to 
restrict its sidewise progress within two diverging diagonal lines. 
From the live-oaks, at the foot of the steep hill, there extended 
along its base, for a hundred yards or more, a thick growth of 
brushwood. Following up the fire industriously in this direc- 
tion, I soon had arrested its windward progress until it had 
reached the coppice, within which, as its only fuel was a few dry 
leaves and dead sticks, I was glad to perceive it extended very 
slowly. I therefore joined the Doctor, who was in a similar man- 
ner following it up on the right. Finding one of us could, with 
certainty, prevent its extending to windward, we hastened its 
advance laterally by drawing it along with a burning wisp, as fast 
as we could, and still keep it within our control, until we reach- 
ed the bank of the creek. There was then no danger of its 
reaching the camp until it had burned around the coppice, and 
advanced to windward beyond the live-oaks. 

Before us there were now several acres of black, smoking, 
ground, beyond which the flames and white smoke still roared 
frightfully, and entirely obscured the view. Running around the 
live-oaks, and along the side of the hill, to the left, to see what 
the progress might be in that direction, we found that there were 
several irregularly parallel coppices and outcrops of rock, which 
interrupted and divided the advance of the fire, so that, although 
when it reached a steep slope of thick grass it swept over it with 
flashing rapidity, its movement up the hill was, on the whole, 
comparatively slow. 

I continued running along the hillside, above the fire, to ob- 
serve how far it had reached directly to leeward, and what was 
before it in that direction. We were very fearful of the damage 

that might be done to the settlers by our carelessness, there being 
10 



218 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS'. 

the liability, not only of the destruction of their remaining win- 
ter pasture, out also that their fences,, and even their cabins and 
fodder-stacks and cattle, might be consumed by the fire driving 
so furiously before the wind. I found there was a curve to the 
left, in the course of the creek, and of the hill, and, at about a 
quarter of a mile beyond the camp, came to a small gully or 
ravine which ran straight down the hillside, and across the prai- 
rie at its foot, to the creek. The sides of this gully, which was 
about ten feet deep and twenty feet across on the top, were thinly 
covered, to the foot of the steep hill, with trees and brushwood, 
and it occurred to me that it might be possible to stop the pro- 
gress of the flame as it came down its windward side, where it 
crossed the prairie .below, and then to put it out as it came irre- 
gularly and divided through the bushes. 

The van of the fire had already arrived at the bushy part of 
the gully, and the two wings were coming up, as I have described, 
in elliptic sweeps — one upon the prairie, the other upon the steep 
hillside. I arrived at the foot of the bushes, in the gully, just as 
the right wing of the fire upon the prairie began to pass them. 
There was, fortunately, a slight shift of the wind to the right of 
the fire at this moment, occasioned, probably, by the fire itself, 
so that its advance down the side of the gully was rather sidewise 
to the wind, and I could crawl on my knees close under, and 
beat it back with my sack. The grass was stronger and taller 
than usual at this point, and some dead bushes retained the fire, 
so that I had much difficulty in smothering it, and was obliged 
repeatedly to return ; nevertheless I succeeded in breaking the 
line, and continued advancing and increasing the length of the 
gap faster than the flame came up on the right to the gully. 
Finally, I reached the creek again, and effectually prevented the 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 219 

further advance of the fire here by touching off some long rushy 
bogs in the edge of the water, and then putting it out with my 
wet sack to the leeward of these also. A triangle of the prairie 
was thus left burning on the edge of the creek, but was sur- 
rounded by water and burned ground, so that its communication 
with the prairie beyond was entirely cut off. 

The sun had gone down, and it had grown dark before I had 
accomplished this, and the wind had considerably moderated, as 
well as changed its direction. I returned up the hill on the 
burned ground, and found the fire had been successfully with- 
stood by the bushes in the gully, and the flames were advancing 
among them only at intervals and slowly. Wherever they ap- 
peared, I easily succeeded in smothering them. Thus the enemy, 
which had before been charging in column, with resistless force, 
upon the smooth prairie, was able only to move in a long line, 
irregular and broken by the scattered masses of brushwood and 
the ledges, up the hill, and its right upon the gully, and its left 
upon the coppice and live-oaks of our camp. 

Advancing upon the fire in its rear, and running through the 
flame, I found the Doctor, taking advantage of the lull of the 
wind, setting fire to the grass to the windward of the main line, 
and constantly smothering it and preventing its progress to lee- 
ward, so that when the flame, charging only to windward, met 
the other, it would have cut off its fuel and thus arrest it. He 
was then moving up and across the hill, always advancing dia- 
gonally upon the main fire, and destroying all the grass before it, 
between the scattered copses of brushwood. I went to the left 
of the line and there pursued the same tactics, advancing upwards 
and sidewise upon the hillside, setting fire to the grass to wind- 
ward of me, and allowing none to burn to leeward. After about 

i 



220 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

two hours of this labor we met, and though the fire was still 
burning with a great roar around a large circle below us, we had 
the satisfaction of knowing that we had entirely surrounded it 
and cut off its supplies, and restricted its damages to a matter of 
small consequence. If it had reached the prairie beyond the 
gully or over the hill, it might have extended to Canada or Cali- 
fornia for all we could do. 

There is something peculiarly exciting in combatting with a 
fierce fire. It calls out the energies and the strength of a man 
like actual war. We had been hotly engaged for more than three 
hours, and it may be imagined we returned to our tent, after pa- 
trolling together our whole outer lines, greatly exulting and 
fatigued. Our wounds were mainly for the good of the trade of 
shoemakers and tailors, and the singeing our heads received 
somewhat postponed our poll-tax payment to the hair-cutters. 
The landscape was still brightly illuminated by the central fire 
on the hillside, and we amused ourselves with each other's ap- 
pearance, our faces, red with heat, being painted in a very bizarre 
fashion, like Indian warriors', with streaks and spots, and clouds 
of soot and coal. 

Having got up our tent and washed, and changed our drench- 
ed clothing, and made a pot of coffee, and watered our horses, 
and given them corn, we brought out our blankets and lay down 
in the edge of the standing grass, and waited still an hour, that 
we might be sure all was safe for the night, before we went to 
sleep. And as the flames grew less, and the smoke-cloud slowly 
vanished, and the big, red moon came up swelling like a bal- 
loon on the other side of the dale, and the ants came crawling 
up our legs, and the first musquito of the season came singing 
in our ears, we reflected on the immense destruction of insect 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 221 

life that such fires must occasion, and recalled, in the leisure of 
imagination, some of the scenic effects of the flame and smoke 
hurrying up the face of the hill, that had passed with but mo- 
mentary perception while we were in the heat of our exer- 
tions. 

" The fear of the damage it might do the settlers," said the 
Doctor, " did not make me feel the culpability of starting the 
fire, nearly as much as seeing the ants crowding away from it 
on to the stones in the edge of the water, when we had carried 
it down to the creek, and afterwards, when I noticed the tu- 
multuous excitement of a wren, that probably had a nest in the 
bushes." 

The grandest and most remarkable picture that had painted 
itself on my memory, had presented itself at the time when I came 
up the hill in the rear of the fire. The ground under me, and above 
the level of the eyes before me, was black as the darkness of the 
darkest night. I could see nothing, and knew not on what I 
should place my foot. I stretched out my hands before ray face, 
to defend me from anything that might stand in my way, and I 
could not see my hands. I particularly noticed this, and it 
seemed to me I was groping in a sea of darkness, when just 
over me there was an atmosphere of light. My eyes, looking 
upward, were dazzled. The tide of fire was moving on, in one 
grand, clean sweep, and, through the waving flames and the tur- 
bid surge of hurrying sparks and lurid smoke, I saw, in distinct 
brightness, the ragged edges of the protruding rocks, and of the 
rough bark of old trunks and branches of dwarf-oaks, and the 
young leaf-points of their bushes, in the springing life, against 
the dim red dusk of the general grassy slope — and, further up, 
the outline of the hill itself against the dark, distant sky. 



222 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

TO SAN ANTONIO. QUI VIVE. 

We spent a week in this camp, visiting and visited by the 
settlers, examining tracts of land, and collecting such agricultu- 
ral information as we could ; the general results of which have 
been tabled above. We then rode over the rocky hills again, and 
followed the Comanche Spring road to San Antonio. Dur- 
ing the last night's camp, some miles below the Spring, we were 
disturbed by some noise in the night. Going out, we could 
discover nothing but the growling dog ; the horses were feeding 
quietly at their stakes. Shortly after, we heard what might be 
a smothered foot-fall, but after a more thorough search, returned 
to our blankets again. While we were building the fire, after 
morning dawned, a well-armed party came up, consisting of an 
American, with two negroes, and a small pack of hounds. The 
negroes crouched at the fire. 

" Mornin', gentlemen/ ' said the white man. 

" Good morning, sir." 

" Travlin'l " 

" Yes." 

" Well. I swaar you came near not travlin' much further, last 
night." 

" How so?" 

" Well, you see, I've lost my horses since a week ago, and 
bein' as how a new settler, I couldn't very well afford to do 
without 'em. Late last night, I heerd bells around, so I went 
and roused out two of my niggers, and told 'em to see if that 
wan't our horses ranging back again. Well, they went out, and 
by and by came back almighty skeered, a sayin' they'd follerd 
'em by the bells over the hills this way, and had come into a 
Mexican camp before they knew it. Well, I knew as no honest 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 223 

Mexicans could have any good business over here, and I just put 
on my boots, and told 'em to call the rest, and get the dogs, and 
I got the guns, and we set out to see who ye was. So when we 
got here, I kinder scooted roun' to see what I could, and I tell 
you I didn't like the looks o' ye. I told part of 'em to go down 
the road round the hill, and I went up with the rest that way, 
and when we got covered up with the hill we made a fire and lay 
round till daylight, keepin' watch of ye. Tell ye what, if ye'd 
budged much, you'd have got some buck-shot in your stomachs, 
you may bet on that. Them's likely animals you've got there." 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, I'll go 'long. Han't seen a pair of gray horses, have 
ye, with a bay mare with 'em*!" 

Moral: (For prairie travelers,) Never mind what's stirring, lie 
quiet in your blankets. 

GAME. 

A good deal of large game is still found in these hills, though 
it is disappearing before the rapid settlement of the country. As 
an evidence of its past abundance, we were told that a gentle- 
man, who resided at Comanche Spring, undertook to make, a 
few years since, a collection of the skins of Texan wild animals 
for a Prussian cabinet. He employed a German carpenter of 
the vicinity, for nine months, to hunt for him, and during this period 
the man delivered to him 11,000 lbs. of wild meat. There was 
still, at a spot near Currie's Creek, a man who made his livelihood 
by hunting. He kept a pack of trained hounds, and had killed 
sixty bears in the course of two years. During the last year, 
he had devoted himself to bee-hunting, and had sold two hun- 
dred dollars' worth of honey and wax. Mr. Yogt, a herdsman 
on the Cibolo, told us that wild cattle were still to be seen on the 



224 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ridge between the Cibolo and the Medina. They frequently as- 
sociate with his herds, and almost every year he shoots two or 
three of them. He describes them as of various colors, small, 
and very active, and the bulls as of a savage ferocity. 

We passed, on the Salado, a second flock of five or six of the 
immense white cranes (I suppose grits Americana), mentioned 
previously. We did our best to get one in hand, but found them 
exceedingly shy, even of Sharp's rifle. 

"HEAPS" OF BEARS. 

While in the mountains, the settlers told us, with fresh excite- 
ment, the story of a great bear-hunt, which had but recently 
come off. The hero was one of the German hermits, named 

P , a famous sportsman. Not long before, he had had a 

" personal difficulty" with a bear, in which, after the animal had 
drawn his fire, he closed with the hunter, now armed only with 
a knife, upon a rocky ledge, and attempted either to throw him 
over the precipice, or to force him, in pure vengeance, to roll 
down the steep with himself. Almost crushed with the hug, P., 
with his one free hand, had succeeded in giving the bear seven 
deep stabs, and left him dead upon the verge. 

On the last occasion, he had wounded a bear, who took to his 
heels, and disappeared in a pile of rocks. Following with all 
his speed, P. found a hole, down which the bear seemed to have 
dropped. Convinced that his shot had been fatal, yet unable to 
enter the cavity, he pried a large stone over the mouth, and went 
for assistance. His hut-companion returned with him, and they at 
first attempted to smoke the bear out. Not succeeding in this, they 
battered the edges of the aperture till it was large enough to enter. 
Then, held by the heel, P. went on his hands in search of his 



ROUTE THROUGH WESTERN TEXAS. 225 

booty. After some not very pleasant groping, he found the car- 
cass, and, attaching a rope, it was hauled out, a magnificent he- 
bear, worth a good deal in cash, and much more in glory. But 
while half-smothered in the cave, he had heard an indistinct 
growl, at no great distance, which indicated that more fun was to 
be had, if properly applied for. It was a hazardous experiment, 
but one that exactly suited P.'s humor, to enter, and have a 
hand-to-hand fight in the dark with the growler, whoever he 
was. 

Arming himself with a freshly capped and cocked Colt, and 
placing a knife between his teeth, he crept cautiously in again. 
The passage shortly became narrow, and he soon reached a turn 
which he could only pass feet foremost. Retreating a bit, he 
turned himself, and pushed on. On clearing the obstacle, he 
found himself free, and heard now close before him, the steady 
breathing of a bear. It was a darkness of Erebus, but hit or 
miss he resolved to have a shot. Aiming, deliberately, at the 
sound, he fired two barrels, then took himself out as fast as 
hands and knees would carry him. But no stir followed, and it 
was impossible to tell the result. 

Piling the rocks again over the aperture, the two returned to 
their hut, manufactured torches of wax from a bee-tree, and 
calling a neighbor or two to see the sport, went again to the den. 
Armed now w T ith a torch, P. forced himself to where he had been 
before, and saw his bear lying dead. It was dragged out. 

After a congratulatory and recuperative draught of whisky all 

round, P. resolved on further explorations. He found, beyond 

the scene of his last adventure, a narrow cleft in the rocks. He 

had hardly squeezed himself into this, when he suddenly found 

his hand in contact with a third bear — dead. It had probably 
10* 



226 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

been smothered by their smoke. This, too, was got out amid 
an excitement that made the woods ring with echoes. 

But if three bears had been found, that was no reason why- 
there should not be more beyond. Creeping down again to the 
cleft, he squeezed in, head foremost, as before. He had not pro- 
gressed far, when he was met with a savage roar, and the glare of 
a pair of mad eyes in motion directly before him. He attempted 
to fall back to recover himself, but one of the neighbors, who 
had made up his mind to have a finger in the pie, was close be- 
hind, and prevented, by his entangled body, any quick retreat ; 
so aiming hurriedly between the eyes, he fired. Before his ex- 
cited senses had recovered from the reverberated din and smoke, 
he saw the eyes again in a different place, this time fixed in a 
steady gaze. He fired again. The echoes over, nothing more 
was to be seen or heard. Advancing cautiously once more, he 
came upon two warm carcasses, both shot between the eyes. Here 
was the end of the cave. He had killed the whole of the Bruin 
family. 

Imagine the cheers, when the jive bears were carried by his 
neighbors, on poles, into the settlement, P. striding modestly at 
the rear. A three days' feast of bears' -meat and whisky was 
proclaimed and celebrated, and P., if he do not, like old Put., 
find his way into history, will at least live long in local tradition. 



CHAP. IV. 

A TRIP TO THE COAST. 

We left San Antonio on the 14th of February for an excur- 
sion to the coast. The road lies, for some miles, through mes- 
quit chapparal, which extends much further from the town than 
on the Austin road. It is sparse, however, and good grass 
grows beneath it. The Mexican inhabitants make use of these 
great commons, driving in their cows every night. 

A MULE SPIRT. 

Our week in the mountains Mr. Brown had spent in corn-fed 
idleness at the inn-stables. On resuming the hampers, he eyed 
them wickedly, as if he were more than half inclined to resist, 
and, when we reached the crossing of the Cibolo, with a snort 
of fat defiance, he suddenly declared his independence, and tear- 
ing his lariat from our hands, set off to display his claims to the 
original freedom of his ancestors. Throwing his ears and his 
heels straight out behind him, he made first for the nearest cover 
of tall brushwood. Saplings were of no consideration at all, 
and were prostrated in a flash, leaving a broad trail, as if a mow- 
ing machine had passed. But the hampers were well tackled on, 
and stood the test. Next came a series of ground and lofty 
tumblings on both sides the creek bank, and in the creek itself, 
which were equally unsuccessful. Of course we w§re after him 



228 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

with all our legs ; but the freakish course he ran was more than 
we could follow and keep up the necessary laughter at the same 
time, and we w r ere much relieved when we saw him suddenly 
strike out on a bee-line, across the prairies, for Metamoras, the 
hampers still clinging like wolves to his flanks. Fanny was 
fully equal to any bee-line that ever was drawn, and though a 
short-legged mule, when fully under way on a stampede, is 
" some pumpkins" at going, she made brief work of the in- 
tervening distance, and I very soon had the lariat round the 
pommel of the saddle, and the chop-fallen runaway in tow back 
to the ford. 

These proceedings occupied some time ; but the damages we 
found, on examination, were confined to the breaking of our 
thermometer and the indiscriminate mixing of some articles that 
had been better apart. Rain soon began to fall, and we made a 
short day of it, camping in the lee of a mesquit thicket, some 
twelve or fourteen miles from San Antonio. 

Mr. Brown was securely fastened by the nose to a high branch, 
and so, for his sins, took supperless a cold standee for the 
night. When morning came, his ears and spirits were com- 
pletely wilted, and he always carefully avoided the subject of 
his private Cibolo stampede — never afterwards offering the least 
symptom of insurrection. 

A WET NORTHER. 

Next day the rain continued falling, with occasional dashes of 
snow, a cutting north wind, making matters very disagreeable. 
We, of course, kept camp. Without our tent we should have 
had a sorry time of it ; but, with a dry cover, good books, a 
rousing fire, and a freshly-stocked havre-sack, time passed easily 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 229 

enough. The protection given by the thin clump of trees was 
astonishing. The tent was hardly shaken, while out of the lee 
it was difficult to support the furious and continued force of the 
blast. 

February 16. — Eain at intervals. We rode on to the Guada- 
lupe, and camped in the bottom. The country was mesquit 
prairie, hilly, and much covered with thickets, but fine grazing. 
We saw many cattle in very fine order, and one large cavallada 
of about two hundred mares and colts. Our tent stood under a 
magnificent cypress, overhung with enormous vines. Fuel was 
abundant, and we did not spare it. The fire-glare lighted up a 
grand dome of leaves resplendent with the falling rain. 

February 17. — A light rain continued. We made a stew for 
breakfast of such small birds as came within range of the frying- 
pan. A boy, attracted by our guns or by the savory odor, made 
his appearance on horseback, attended by a pack of hounds. He 
seemed somewhat taken aback on observing our comfortable ar- 
rangements, and after a tame proposal to " to swop horses,'" 
took his departure. 

A BLACK LIFE. 

Soon afterwards an old negro man and woman came by with 
a team, going for rails. They stopped near us, and the old man 
came to our fire for a brand to light their pipes. We asked him 
if we could get corn at his master's. He didn't reckon we 
could. 

" Why not V ' 

" 'Cause he buys all he uses himself." 

" Why don't he raise it V ' 

"Well, he ha' n't been long in the country." 

"How long?" 



230 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

"Only one year. But IVe been roun' these parts these four 
year." 

"Where have you lived before?" 

" Well, I lived in Arkansaw 'fore I come here." 

" Were you born there V 9 

" Lor' bless you, no. I was born on the Eastern shore [of 
Maryland]." 

" How came you in Arkansas f 

" My mass'r sold me to go in a drove when I was a little boy, 
and I was bought out of the drove in South Carolina, and when 
I was most a man grown my mass'r moved to Tennessee. Thar 
I got my old woman, and we raised thirteen chil'en. Then we 
was sold to go to Arkansaw." 

" Did your children go with you V 9 

"No, but afterwards my mass'r bought one of my darters. 
There I stayed some time, and then we was sold to a German, 
and he sold me to a man that was coming to Texas. Mass'r 
couldn' jus' find a place to suit him at first, and I hired my time 
for three year, and lived in San Antone." 

" How did you like San Antonio ?" 

" I never lived no-where I liked so well as San Antone." 

"How did you get on with the Mexicans and the Germans?" 

" Oh, very well ; they're very civil people and always treated 
me well. I never had no complaint to make of anybody, and I 
b'leeve everybody was sorry when I had to leave." 

" Why did you leave ?" 

" They made a law that no nigger shouldn't hire his time in 
San Antone, so I had to cl'ar out, and mass'r wanted me, so I 
come back to him." 

" How much did you pay for yourself?" 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 231 

" Tree hundred dollars for myself and my wife. Wasn't that 
pretty good wages, mass'r, for two old folks V 

" How old are you 1" 

" Well, sar, so far as I am acquainted, I am sixty-four years 
old ; just about sixty-four, sar." 

They remained near us in the rain, cutting at opposite sides of 
a big tree. We passed, soon after we started, the field to which 
they were carting the rails. Half-a-dozen women and two or 
three men were eating their dinner — corn-pone and eggs. A little 
apart was a woman, nursing her child, sitting on the newly- 
ploughed wet ground. 

SEGUIN. 

About a mile from the river we entered Seguin. It is the 
prettiest town in Texas ; at least of those we saw. It stands on 
elevated ground, in a grove of shaggy live-oaks, which have been 
left untouched, in their natural number and position, the streets 
straying through them in convenient, directions, not always at 
right angles. How wonderful, that so cheap and rich an orna- 
mentation should not be more common. The hotel is large and 
good. We were kindly treated, and furnished with clear informa- 
tion, at the store of Mr. Wuppermann, of whom we purchased 
some supplies. Irish potatoes were sold by him, we noted, at 
$6 the bushel, for seed. A number of buildings in Seguin are 
made of concrete — thick walls of gravel and lime, raised a foot 
at a time, between boards, which hold the mass in place until it 
is solidified. As the materials are dug from the cellar, it is a 
very cheap mode of construction, is neat in appearance, and is 
said to be as durable, while protected by a good roof, as stone or 
brick. One man may erect a house in this way, calling in 
mechanics only to roof and finish. 



232 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We camped near the San Geronimo creek, at the edge of a 
live-oak grove, looking across a charming lawn. The rain con- 
tinning, we were obliged to spend the following day in camp. 
With the help of the mule we got together some huge live-oak 
logs, and made a quasi-permanent fire-place, which kept a-glow 
all night. 

A negro, who was getting wood near us, informed us that he 
was born in Tennessee, and wished he was back there again — 
Texas w 7 as a miserable place for the likes o' him. There were 
several houses in the neighborhood, at which we obtained fowls 
and eggs. At one house a long consultation on the subject re- 
sulted favorably, and three negro girls, two boys, and two dogs 
were set upon the unfortunate pullets. All the whites with whom 
w r e talked were well pleased with the country — they had had uni- 
form good health and satisfactory crops. One family had come 
from a river county in Missouri, and congratulated themselves 
much upon the change. 

February 19. — The rain ceased, and a light breeze sprung up 
from the southwest. The road soon entered post-oak woods and 
sandy land. This alternated with black hog- wallow prairies. 
The depressions varied from two to six yards across, and had now 
each a miry centre. The soil is more tenacious than the ordi- 
nary prairies, and produces well, only in peculiar seasons, which 
afford it neither too much nor too little moisture. Here and 
there were ledges and hills of limestone, and, sometimes, what ap- 
peared to be a red sandstone, cropping out. We passed Mount 
Capote, which is a wooded summit, terminating a long range of 
hills. Though not high, it is the only object that rises above the 
general surface, and can be seen for a great distance. We went 
through some small rich prairies, where the mesqnit and sedge 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 233 

grasses were mixed. The cattle upon these looked in good con- 
dition, but upon the large hog- wallows were in very bad order. 

SPRING. 

February is a spring month in Texas, and, in spite of the 
cold, we had already found one or two feeble flowers near our 
camps. 

To-day, the genial sun warmed the fresh moistened soil, and 
three or four more species opened into bloom. After this hardly 
a day passed without some addition, and very soon it was im- 
possible to welcome each new-comer ; the whole prairies became 
radiant and delicious. The beauty of the spring-prairies has 
never been and never will be expressed. It is inexpressible. 

A few days sufficed now, in fact, to change the whole face of 
nature. A quick flush spread over all ; the bosom of old Mo- 
ther Earth seemed to swell with life. 

In another day the elm-buds were green and bursting, and the 
wild plum in fragrant blossom ; the dreary, burnt prairies; from re- 
pulsive black, changed at once to a vivid green, like that of young 
wheat. The cheering effect I leave to be imagined. The herds 
' all left the dry sedge, and flocked to the new pastures. The 
unburnt districts, covered with the thick mat of last year's 
growth, were a month behind. 

We passed, in the afternoon, a cotton field in the river bot- 
tom. The stalks were short, but much cotton remained unpick- 
ed. The country is more suited to small farms and grazing 
than to planting. 

Toward night we could find no water for our camp. A t a 
house, where we inquired, they told us they brought water from 
the river, half a mile. We stopped by a water-hole, fresh filled 



234 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

by the rain. A great many cardinals came about our camp. 
Their notes were now very clear, varied, and agreeable, their 
plumage a somewhat dingy scarlet, but flashing bright when on 
the wing. 

GUADALUPE LANDS. 

The bottom lands of the Guadalupe here are usually from 
two to four miles wide. They are said to be less subject to 
overflow than those of any other large river in Texas. They 
are covered with timber, which is mainly heavy and very valua- 
ble, especially so here where timber of any kind is difficult to be 
procured. The principal sorts are white-oak, pecan, walnut, 
hickory, box-alder, mulberry, cotton-wood, and cypress. 

Exterior to the timber, on each side, is generally a portion of 
flat bottom-prairie. It has a rich, black, clay soil, difficult to 
work, but producing heavy crops. Beyond this bottom-prairie, 
the surface rises abruptly to uplands, which present a good deal 
of variety in soil and scenery. The largest part is rolling prai- 
rie, with, some chapparal and groves of live-oaks near the ter- 
race. Further back are sandy elevated tracks, the soil of which 
is comparatively poor and covered by a thin growth of post- 
oaks. 

The banks of the river, on both sides, are considered to be 
well settled. The houses of the residents are, perhaps, a mile 
apart on the more valuable parts. On the east side are some 
families who came here before the Eevolution. Most of the set- 
tlers are extensive herdsmen and small planters. The planta- 
tions have a small front on the river, and extend back sometimes 
several miles over the upland prairie, no part of which is in- 
closed. Only the best of the bottom land is cultivated, and of 
that, probably, much less than a hundredth part. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 235 

A large proportion, perhaps almost half, of the white residents 
we saw were Germans. Their tracts are usually small, not 
more than from twenty to one hundred acres, which they till 
with their own hands. The American proprietors own, gene- 
rally, at least, one thousand acres, and work each from five to 
fifty slaves. There are very few Mexicans. The Americans 
are.. exceedingly suspicious of their vicinity, and drive them off at 
the least provocation. Those who remain are poor, owning 
small herds. 

On the 20th February we reached Gonzales. The prairies 
through which the road passes were cropped very close, and we 
passed many carcasses of cattle, that had miserably perished by 
the road, of cold and starvation. 

The late storm coming at the end of winter caused the de- 
struction of a great number of cattle, both working oxen, belong- 
ing to teams that were engaged in hauling goods to San Anto- 
nio, and the half-starved herds upon the poorer and most ex- 
posed prairies. A little care to provide shelter and fodder for 
these rare occasions would prevent this great suffering and loss ; 
but in not one instance did we see any such forethought. 

We passed a number of old places having much the aspect 
of Virginia plantations, inclosed within very high zigzag fences, 
with gin-houses, negro women ploughing, and sometimes a small 
garden, and a half dozen peach-trees. 

We were joined by a planter from the opposite side of the 
river, where there are many Tennesseeans and Mississippians. 
He was from Tennessee; had moved first to Alabama, after- 
wards to Mississippi, whence he came to Eastern Texas. He 
didn't like it there, and pushed on. He liked the country better 
and better as he came further, and finally reached the lower 



236 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Guadalupe, where he hired land, and was able to purchase it 
with the proceeds of his first crop. But he found it sickly 
there, and came higher up. Here he was well satisfied. They 
had no sickness, but a little bilious fever and very light fever and 
ague. There was a good deal of pneumonia in winter. The 
land was very fine ; he made one bale to the acre always, and 
always grew twice as much cotton as his hands could pick. 
Seven bales to the hand was a common crop, and of corn forty 
to fifty bushels. He had known ten bales to the hand to be made, 
and had heard of a hundred bushels of corn to the acre, but had 
never seen it. 

Land had " bounced up powerful." A tract that he could 
have bought, three years ago, for two dollars, had just been sold 
at ten dollars. The mustang grape, he told us, was very abundant 
in the bottoms. It was not worth much to eat, but made beau- 
tiful wine. The Germans made it right fine, he heard. Last 
year he thought he'd try it himself. He mashed them in a bar- 
rel, and let them stand and work for six or eight days, then 
drained them, and bottled the juice. " It was splendid ; made 
a splendid drink, sir, splendid ; as good as any cider ever you 
see." He could get a wagon load in a day if he wanted, and 
next year he would make a good lot, and squeeze them in his 
cotton-press. 

The price of cattle was now very high, six dollars per head 
for stock-cattle. He had known a sale at seven dollars. A cow 
and calf sold at from fifteen to twenty dollars. This expres- 
sion, " stock cattle," is constantly used to express the usual 
herd of cattle bought as herdsmen's stock. It includes here all 
the cows of a herd, with their calves, and all young cattle un- 
der three years of age. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 237 

_He spoke very highly of the Germans of the neighborhood. 
There were some thieves among them, but, in general, they 
were very steady workers, trustworthy, and needing no watching 
when hired ; they were very friendly-disposed people. The hire 
of negroes was now very high. First rate hands, $300 ; ordi- 
nary hands, $150 to $250. 

GONZALES. 

Gonzales is a town of perhaps one thousand inhabitants. It 
is a centre of distribution for hardware and whisky for a rich 
district, and is probably destined to a steady increase until the 
soil of the district is exhausted. It has at present nothing to 
distinguish it from other towns. There is the usual square of 
dead bare land, surrounded by a collection of stores, shops, 
drinking and gambling-rooms, a court-house, and a public-house, 
or two, with the nearly vacant mapped streets behind. 

We could procure no flour, meal, corn, or crackers in town. 
The price of corn, by the load, was seventy-five cents per 
bushel ; of bacon, twenty-five cents per pound. At a German 
baker's we found wheat-bread. He informed us that there were 
about fifty Germans in the town — -a few were farmers, most were 
mechanics. 

Our camp, at night, was a few miles beyond Gonzales, in thick 
post-oak woods. We applied at an adjacent house for water, 
and were directed to a pool half a mile distant. When found, 
it made a poor beverage, even after boiling, and, by morning 
light, we discovered it was so extremely dirty that we postponed 
any personal ablutions till a better opportunity. This was soon 
offered in the tolerably clear stream of Peach Creek, a few miles 
on. 



238 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

BROADER VIEWS. 

Beyond Peach Creek bottoms, the scenery becomes more and 
more open. The bare prairie hills extend to the flowed river 
bottom. Scattered at distances of about a mile, along the road, 
are the houses of herdsmen. The soil is black, but sandy. 
After twenty miles' ride, we camped in a charming spot, by the 
side of a clear rippling brook, hanging our tent between two su- 
perb live-oaks, upon a swell of prairie, on our right a motte of 
moss-hung trees, through which we saw the sun go down, lurid 
and swollen, in the smoke of a distant prairie fire. The horses 
regaled themselves with the fresh gras-s. For corn, both yester- 
day and to-day, we paid one dollar the bushel. To-day it proved 
quite uneatable from mould. Throughout the South, corn is 
stored in rude cribs, or half-covered piles, always unhusked. 
The consequence is, it is almost always musty. The bushel is a 
barrel of ears in the husk, the purchaser stripping it for himself, 
a task which added not a little to our daily camp labors. Even 
when carted thirty miles' distance, the corn is left upon the cob 
and in the husk. 

A thick mist came up in the night, which dropped from the 
oak leaves so rapidly upon the tent as to induce me to get up to 
rebuild the fire, thinking it rain. 

COTTON HAULING THE ROADS. 

February 22. — The country was much more wooded than yes- 
terday, frequent mottes of live-oak, coppices of mesquit, and 
forests of post-oak, diversifying the prairie. The houses were 
old, and of a more comfortable sort. We saw near some of 
them the first peach-blossoms of the season. We passed cotton- 
fields again, and wagons loaded with cotton. One carrying 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 239 

eight bales, drawn by ten very lean oxen, was from San Marcos, 
bound to the coast. The teamster, who was on horseback, told 
us his best day's work was ten miles. Across the wet hog- 
wallow prairie of the latter part of the day, the road was very 
heavy. In the creek, near which we made our camp, was a cot- 
ton team stalled, and it was late at night before the whipping 
and swearing came to an end. While we were at breakfast in 
the morning, the teamster drove by his cattle, which had strayed 
away in the night for better pasture, and stopped to ask our as- 
sistance. He had cut trees for fulcrum and lever, and thought 
with our help he should be able to get out. We worked for an 
hour under his guidance, covering ourselves with mire, but effect- 
ing nothing. A man appeared on horseback, who added his 
forces. After perceiving that our combined efforts would not 
suffice to raise the wheel, he said, " Stranger, I'll give you my 
advice. I'm sick, and not able to help you much. I'm going 
now to see a doctor. But your wagon isn't very badly stalled, 
sir. The mire is not deep here. That wheel is on the 
gravel now. I'll tell you what's the matter ; your cattle are too 
weak. Now you take them all out, and give them a feed, and 
turn them out to graze till another team comes up, and they'll 
have to help you, because there isn't room to get by. And I'll 
tell you what I'll do. I'll call at the overseer's (of roads), and 
tell him you sent for him to help you. He's got plenty of teams 
and hands, and if he don't come, you return him (to the County 
Court), because he's no business to leave a place like this in the 
road." With that he mounted, and rode on. We did the 
same, the teamster offering us no thanks, but shouting after us, 
"What'll you take for that mule?" 

We saw again along the road to-day many dead cattle. The 



240 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

herds were miserably poor in flesh. Most of the carcasses were 
of working oxen, usually from the carts of Mexicans, who give 
their teams no corn, depending entirely upon the pasturage. The 
latter part of the day, the road left the river, and stretched out 
upon flat, high, sandy prairies, the poorest prairie land we have 
seen. 

SLAVE EMIGRANTS. 

Toward night, we entered on the great level prairies of the 
coast. Here we met a gang of negroes, three men, two wo- 
men, and two boys, under guard of a white man and a very 
large yellow mastiff. The negroes had each some article to 
carry, one an axe, another a rifle, another a kettle, a fourth led 
a horse, to whose saddle were fastened a ham, a coffee-pot, and 
a buffalo robe. This last, undoubtedly, would be the white 
man's covering at night, the negroes having no extra clothing. 
They were evidently slaves consigned to some planter in the 
interior, probably by his factor in New Orleans, as part of the 
proceeds of his crop. 

They were much fagged, and sullen with their day's walk. The 
prospect before them was a boundless flat prairie, with a cold 
north wind, and rain threatening. They were evidently intend- 
ing to camp upon the open prairie, as for eight miles we had 
passed no house. Before midnight, a severe rain-storm did, in 
fact, commence. 

VICTORIA. 

Shortly before reaching Victoria, we came into a German set- 
tlement. The houses were poor and small, and indicated much 
less thrift than any we had seen. 

Victoria is a very ditto of Gonzales, and all the rest. It stands 
on the great flat coast prairie, near the edge of the river bottom. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 241 

It is an old settled town, and has about 1,000 inhabitants. 
About half its population are Germans, many of whom remain- 
ed at the first settled spot reached during the great immigration. 
Several tracts adjacent were divided into plots for them, which 
they eagerly bought with their savings, or first earnings, and are 
now unable to sell without the loss of their improvements. Two 
of them together commonly bought a lot of forty acres. Com- 
paring their position with that of their countrymen in the upper 
country, it was really pitiful. Many of the lots we saw were 
undrained flats, now half under water, which sometimes sur- 
rounded the houses, covered with a green slime. Yet they told 
us the town was not unhealthy, and the Americans assured us that 
it was as healthy as any town in Texas, and much more so than 
Gonzales, in particular. Yellow fever had visited them the pre- 
vious year, but was said not to have been epidemic. On the 
coast we were told that it was an extremely unhealthy town, 
severe bilious and congestive fevers prevailing every year. 

We found the town ill-provided with provisions and goods ; 
and for all small articles we were charged exorbitant prices. 
Corn was not to be had. Its nominal price was $1 50 per 
bushel. 

NIGHT ON A PLANTATION. 

We went on some miles beyond Victoria, and not rinding a 
suitable camping place, stumbled, after dark, into a large planta- 
tion upon the river bottom. 

The irruption of such a train within the plantation fences 

caused a furious commotion among the dogs and little negroes, 

and it was with no little difficulty we could explain to the planter, 

who appeared with a candle, which was instantly blown out, upon 

the porch, our peaceable intentions. Finally, after a general 
11 



242 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

striking out of Fanny's heels and the master's boots, aided by 
the throwing of our loose lariats into the confused crowd, the 
growling and chattering circle about us was sufficiently enlarged 
and subdued for us to obtain a hearing, and we were hospitably 
received. 

" Ho Sam ! You Tom, here ! Call your missus. Siike ! if 
you don't stop that infernal noise I'll have you drowned ! Here 
Bill ! Josh ! some of you, why don't you help the gentleman % 
Bring a lantern here ! Packed, are you, sir. Hold on, you 
there, leave the gun alone. Now, clear out with you, you little 
devils, every one of you ! Is there no one in the house % St ! 
after 'em, Tiger! Can't any of you rind a lantern? Where's 
Bill, to take these horses 1 What are you doing there ? I tell 
you to be off, now, every one of you ! Tom ! take a rail and 
keep 'em off there !" 

In the midst of the noise we go through the familiar motions, 
and land our saddles and hampers upon the gallery, then follow 
what appears to be the headmost negro to the stable, and give 
him a hint to look well out for the horses. 

This is our first reintroduction to negro servants after our 
German experiences, and the contrast is most striking and disa- 
greeable. Here were thirty or forty slaves, but not an order 
could be executed without more reiteration, and threats, and oaths, 
and greater trouble to the master and mistress, than would be 
needed to get a squadron under way. We heard the master 
threaten his negroes with flogging, at least six times, before we 
went to bed. In the night a heavy rain came up, and he rose, 
on hearing it, to arrange the cistern spout, cursing again his in- 
fernal niggers, who had turned it off for some convenience of their 
own. In the morning, we heard the mistress scolding her girls 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 243 

for having left articles outside which had been spoiled by the 
wet, after repeated orders to bring them in. On visiting the 
stables we found the door fastened by a board leaned against it. 

All the animals were loose, except the mule, which I had fas- 
tened myself. The rope attached to my saddle was stolen, and a 
shorter one substituted for it, when I mentioned the fact, by which 
I was deceived, until we were too far off to return. The master, 
seeing the horses had yet had no fodder, called to a boy to ?et 
some for them, then, countermanding his order, told the boy to 
call some one else, and go himself to drive the c of the 

garden. Then, to another boy, he said, ; - Go and pull two or 
three bundles of fodder out of the stack and give th^r 
The boy soon came with two small bundles. "Ton inJ 
rascal, couldn't you tote m#re fodder than that ? G 
bring four or five bundles, and be quick about it or I'll lick you." 

boy walked slowly back, and returned with four I 
more. 

But on entering at night we were struck with the air of com- 
fort that met us. ¥ -eated in rocking-chairs in a well- 
furnished room, before a blazing fir water to wash, in a 
little lean-to bed-room, and, though we had two hours t . 
for our supper.it was most excellent, and we passed a;, 
evening in intellicren: don with our h >st. 

-r his curiosity about D£ :.. satisfied, we Learned from him 
that, though a young man, • and had made 

a comfortable fortune by his plantation. His wife gave us a 
picturesque account of their wagon jonrn 
and de - the hardships, dangers, and privations they h 
first to endure. / .mfortable - 

could have ever hoped to have been in the £ 



244 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

came. They thought their farm the best cotton land in the 
world. It extended across a mile of timbered bottom land from 
the river, then over a mile of bottom prairie, and included a large 
tract of the big prairie " for range." Their field would produce, 
in a favorable season, three bales to the acre ; ordinarily a bale 
and a half: the " bale" 400 lbs. They had always far more 
than their hands could pick. It was much more free from weeds 
than the states, so much so, that three hands would be needed 
there to cultivate the same area as two here ; that is, with the 
same hands the crop would be one-third greater. 

But so anxious is every one in Texas to give all strangers a 
favorable impression, that all statements as to the extreme profit 
and heal thf ulness of lands must be taken with a grain of allow- 
ance. We found it very difficult, without impertinent persistence, 
to obtain any unfavorable facts. Persons not interested informed 
us, that from one-third to one-half the cotton crop on some of 
these rich plantations had been cut off by the worm, on several 
occasions, and that negroes suffered much with dysentery and 
pneumonia. 

It cost them very little to haul their cotton to the coast or to 
get supplies. They had not been more sickly than they would 
have been on the Mississippi. They considered that their steady 
sea-breeze was almost a sure preventive of such diseases as they 
had higher up the country. 

SUGAR. 

There were several sugar-plantations near them, one above 
Victoria, which had done extremely well, always selling their 
sugar at the highest price, for the supply of the back country. 

As there is, for the present, abundance of fuel in the bottoms, 
sugar-making will probably be an extensive business on the lower 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 245 

Guadalupe, for some time to come. The land is very well adapt- 
ed, and can be bought, improved, for $10 per acre. We were 
shown, as high as Seguin, cane, which was of unusual size, and 
perfectly developed. 

In the garden were peach and fig-trees, and raspberries. Pears 
on quince-stocks have produced fine crops in the neighborhood. 
The banana is cultivated here and at Indianola, but only as a 
curiosity, requiring to be housed or well protected. 

They always employed German mechanics, and spoke well of 
them. Mexicans were regarded in a somewhat unchristian tone, 
not as heretics or heathen to be converted with flannel and tracts, 
but rather as vermin, to be exterminated. The lady was parti- 
cularly strong in her prejudices. White folks and Mexicans 
were never made to live together, anyhow, and the Mexicans had 
no business here. They were getting so impertinent, and were 
so well protected by the laws, that the Americans would just 
have to get together and drive them all out of the country. 

THE COAST PRAIRIE. 

We looked out in the morning upon a real sea of wet grass. 
A dead flat extended as far as the eye could reach, reeking with 
water. The rain fell in sheets, and the wind blew a gale from 
the southward. But we were anxious to reach the coast, and 
sheathing ourselves and our hampers in india-rubber, we put off 
in the face of the blast. 

We had come a long way off the road in finding the plantation, 
and on leaving, our host gave us advice how to find it again — ad- 
vice not at all unnecessary ; for we might easily have lost all traces 
of our whereabouts on the limitless expanse before us, and have 
furnished, perhaps, another example of the accident mentioned 



246 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

in the " Visit to Texas," and introduced (like all the other avail- 
able incidents of that little book) into one of Seatsfield's novels, 
where the traveler, losing himself upon the great coast prairie, 
finally congratulates himself, when, on the second day, he finds 
the trail of a horseman. Following it, with the idea that it must 
lead somewhere, he finds it joined by other tracks, which fill him 
with joy, till he eventually discovers that he has for four days 
been traveling in his own tracks in a frightful circuit around the 
vast prairie. 

Our directions were as follows : " The wind is now just about 
south, and it will most likely stay so. Well, you keep the wind 
right square on your shoulder, and ride straight across the prai- 
rie, and when you've gone about a mile, you'll rise the tops of 
some timber. Then you go right toward that till you can see 
the bottoms of the trees, and when you can see the ground where 
they grow, then you can bear off to the right of them till you 
see the road." 

Following these sailing orders as if we were really at sea, we 
at length reached the road. Several times we had to recall the 
direction to keep the wind on our right shoulder, finding that in 
conversation we had diverged, till quite at right angles with our 
course, and each having a different idea, as we looked up, as to 
the proper bearing of the point we w ? ere aiming at. The road 
was a mere collection of straggling wagon-ruts, extending for 
more than a quarter of a mile in width, from outside to outside, 
it being desirable, in this part of the country, rather to avoid a 
road than to follow it. We had heard, the day before, at Vic- 
toria, that two parties, who wished to meet, had passed one 
another unnoticed, and it now seemed quite credible ; one had 
taken the right of the road, the other the left. We, ourselves, 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 247 

usually rode outside all the tracks, using them only as a guide 
to our course. We met the mail-coach standing in the opposite 
direction, many hundred yards to our left, across the way. 

The storm was severe, and during the whole day we saw 
no one working to windward but ourselves. The distance to La- 
vacca was twenty-eight miles. We passed, until near our arri- 
val there, but one house, a miserable, half-drowned ranch, upon 
a slight elevation, near a still creek. The rain fell constantly, 
and the clay-soil having been saturated before, the whole now 
remained upon the surface, so that we waded through water fet- 
lock deep. Wherever the turf was not too soft to support the 
hoofs of the horses, we went at round trot, splashing sheets of 
water over one another. The greater part of the time, our view 
was entirely uninterrupted, across a nearly level, treeless space 
around three quarters of the horizon. Objects loomed into 
vagueness, as at sea. Part of the prairie was hog- wallow, very dis- 
tressing to the laboring horses, and now and then came a slightly 
elevated long roll. As we approached the coast, the ground be- 
came still more perfectly level, and more deeply inundated. 
The horses were half-knee deep. 

We met seventeen wagons and nine Mexican carts upon the road, 
bound up, and ten cotton wagons and seventeen Mexican carts 
bound to the coast, laid up in stress of weather, the teamsters hud- 
dled in pitiful plight under their slight protection. We passed 
near several herds of deer, and saw many wild geese, cranes, and 
prairie hens, and innumerable smaller birds and water-fowl. 
Two herds of horses came near us ; one of about forty we ap- 
proached closely. They stood tails to windward, scattered and 
feeding. When we were within about five hundred yards, all 
raised their heads, trotted together, and stood gazing at us in a 



248 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

troop. When we had approached within three hundred yards, 
they broke into a frolicsome gallop, stopping after a short run to 
look, at us again. They were, probably, half- tamed mustangs, 
though, possibly, a stray troop of wild horses from the desert 
prairies to the West. 

LAVACCA. 

Lavacca seemed to recede as we drew near it. We saw the 
masts of vessels two hours before we reached the town. We 
found a very indifferent hotel, but, luckily, a capital stable, 
where we saw our jaded horses rubbed thoroughly dry and well 
fed. The town stands on the edge of the bay, the surface of 
which is some fifteen feet below the prairie. The streets were 
now completely flooded. It lacks churches, school-houses, a 
public square, shade-trees, and Venetian blinds, but, in other 
respects, reminds one completely of a small New England sea- 
port or fishing village. There were four New" York schooners at 
the end of long, slightly-built jetties, and three or four smaller 
bay craft. There is no rise and fall of tide of consequence, but 
the depth of water is changed by the prevailing winds. There 
are said to be seven feet of water in the channel ; the depth, 
however, varies with the residence of your informant, and is 
only to be correctly ascertained from the Coast Pilot. 

A REFORMED ABOLITIONIST. 

We were invited, when we arrived, into the ladies' sitting- 
room, to dry our wet clothes at the only fire. The room was 
well filled by a family from Alabama. They were on their way 
with their negroes to the interior, and had been detained here a 
week, unable to procure wagons. The mistress was in conver- 
sation with an Irish lady upon the subject of negroes. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 249 

When she left Ireland she was an abolitionist ; she wouldn't 
own a slave ; and, bless you, as to whipping one, why she'd just 
as soon think of whipping a white person. But she very soon 
had to change her views on arriving in Texas. She found they 
couldn't get any servants they could depend on, except niggers, 
and now she had just as lief whip a nigger as not. She used 
to think niggers were hard used, but now she knew they weren't 
a bit more than they deserved to be. They all deserved to be 
whipped ; if they were whipped more they'd be better ; unless 
they was whipped they was good for nothing. She knew and 
acknowledged she didn't whip her own servants half enough ; 
they were so saucy, and didn't care a bit for your interests. 
There was a girl they had owned now four years, and she didn't 
care a bit more for their interests than she did for anybody 
else's. The other day, a lady called out to her that the pigs 
were in the garden, and what do you think she said? Why, 
she said they weren't any of her pigs, was they? And so she 
let 'em root up all the potatoes they had planted, and the seed 
cost them six dollars a bushel, and had to be brought from St. 
Louis. Did they have white servants in Ireland? one of the 
young ladies asked. Oh, yes, nothing else. And didn't* they 
whip 'em when they wouldn't mind ? Oh, you see, my dear, it's 
very different ; they an't like niggers at all, they're enough sight 
better ; they mind of their own accord. You see, it's their in- 
terest to mind, because, if they don't, they'll get sent away ; 
and they're more respectable than niggers, and more humble, too, 
a great deal, though they are more respectable. But they are 
spoiled as soon as they come to this country, complete. When 
I first came here I hired me a seamstress, and it wasn't a day 

before she wanted higher wages ; then she wanted to sit at my 
11* 



250 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

table, she wasn't a nigger, she said ; she thought she was our 
equal. So I discharged her, and she thought she could do bet- 
ter ; and, sure enough, there was a lady hired her before night 
of the same day, and when I took tea with the lady, here was 
this girl at table as good as anybody, and I thought I should 
have laughed in her face when she turned to me and asked if 
she shouldn't help me to something more, just as if she was the 
mistress herself. 

The Alabamians did not seem to appreciate the peculiar fun 
of this. 

The head of the Alabamian family seemed to fear the bill. 
He was asking the landlord what the charges were, as, now it 
was storming again, it looked like as if they wouldn't be able to 
get wagoned up the country for a week more. They were 
charged one dollar per night, each person and each horse. There 
was nothing eatable upon the table, save the old corn-bread. 
Everything else was drenched in bad melted butter. As usual, 
no milk. 

We were shown to bed by a little negro, who led us across an 
open space, ankle-deep in mud and water. Three beds occupied 
the room, with scarce space to move between them. The towel 
was a quarter yard of twilled cotton. We remonstrated. The 
little negro said, "that ar's a good one, put in here to-day, never 
been used but once, mass'r." We asked what time breakfast 
was served. " Jus' as soon as we ken get it ready, mass'r." 
" What time is that usually V 9 " Can't till 'ou, mass'r." " Is 
there any one else to sleep in this room!" " Yes, sar ; thar's 
an old gen'l'm'n sleeps here, but he don' often come in till morn-, 
ing, sar." At midnight two men entered the room, talking 
loudly, and holding a candle to our faces to see who we were. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 251 

They occupied the same bed, half dressed, and continued talking 
in the most profane manner. They appeared to be professional 
gamblers, and spoke of a young man of whom they had got, that 
night, $200. One expressed some compassion for the poor fel- 
low. The other laughed. " Why, damn him, don't he deserve 
to lose all he's got, if he's fool enough to gamble without know- 
ing more about cards than he does." 

We went next day to get some work done at a blacksmith's. 
He was not at his shop. "Well, mechanics don't work steady 
here, as they do at the north," said his neighbor, when we asked 
at what time he could usually be found. 

SUBSIDENCE OF MR. BROWN. 

At noon, the weather being good, we started for Indianola. 
We went splashing through the water again, the depth as before. 
At a short causeway, two or three miles from Lavacca, we paid 
a heavy toll, crossing the Chockolate, a small, crooked, dirty 
creek. 

Not long after, we noticed we were wading through water 
deeper than usual, and suddenly the mare sunk through the turf, 
mired. The doctor jumped off, and, relieved of his weight, after 
some plunging, she relieved herself. The mule, who had sunk 
in the same place, only went deeper and deeper for his efforts, 
and, feeling the ground giving way beneath the pony, I spurred 
on and joined the doctor, who, up to the knees in water, was 
leading Fanny, trembling with excitement, cautiously towards the 
nearest elevation, which was some three hundred yards distant. 
This we soon reached, and found the ground firm, and tolerably 
dry. Looking back, to learn the fate of the mule, we beheld one 
of the most painfully ludicrous sights I have ever seen. Nothing 



252 A /OURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

whatever was visible of Mr. Brown, save the horns of the pack- 
saddle and his own well-known ears, rising piteously above the 
treacherous waves. He had exhausted his whole energy in efforts 
that only served to drag him deeper under, and seeing himself 
deserted, in the midst of the waters, by all his comrades, he gave 
up with a loud sigh, and laid upon his side to die, hoisting only 
his ears as a last signal of distress. We threw off our saddles, 
hobbled the horses, and prepared to wade to his help, when we 
saw him renewing his struggles, and, after getting his fore feet 
upon some more solid turf, he gradually came forth, and walked 
eagerly toward us, emerging upon the upland, sleek and dripping 
like a drowned rat, the water shooting from the wicker hampers 
as from some patent watering-cart. 

We thought, bitterly, for a moment, of our pistols and sugar, 
our Epsom salts and gunpowder, our gingerbread, our poets 
and our shirts, then broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. 
But the hampers had become two barrels of water, which, added 
to our ridicule, the mule, his excitement over, found more than 
he could bear, and, sitting clown, he gave us a beseeching look, 
as if ready to burst into a torrent of tears. 

We at once unlimbered, and selecting the least wet portion of 
available land, spread our property to dry. The grateful mule 
commenced rolling and grunting in his usual manner, and was 
soon restored to good spirits. A bright sun and strong northerly 
wind facilitated our operations, and the damages were less than 
could have been expected. The medicine chest was the greatest 
sufferer, and, if any fishes frequented the neighborhood of the 
disaster, they must have got a well-sweetened close of a cold in- 
fusion of the pharmacopoeia in general, that ought to have pro- 
longed their lives to a most unexpected old age. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 253 

INDIANOLA. 

After three or four hours' delay, we repacked, and got under 
way again. Indianola was in plain view, but a good deal of navi- 
gable prairie was still to be passed. The sun set in a gray haze, 
in the flat prairie, giving the horizon a greater apparent distance 
than even the calm ocean. Half a mile from the town 
we struck the shore, a narrow, hard, sand beach, between a 
lagoon and the sea, hardly twenty feet wide. As soon as it 
expands, the town begins abruptly. At the entrance are 
some prominent gables, aud it was so like the approach to a 
European seaport that we thought of our passports and the octroi 
officers. 

The beach on which the town is built is some three hundred 
yards in width, and extends about a mile in length, having but 
two parallel streets, front and back. It has a more busy and 
prosperous appearance than Lavacca, and is much larger, but is 
said to have less heavy business, and less capital. The rivalry 
is extreme and amusing. At Lavacca we heard of Indianola as 
" a little village down the bay (they call it Indianola), where our 
vessels sometimes land goods on their way up." Each consider 
the other to be sickly. Indianola has the advantage of the best 
water, and of the New Orleans steamers, which land at Powder- 
horn, a sort of hotel suburb, four miles below, by a hard beach- 
road, where nine to ten feet of water can be carried. Lavacca 
has the advantage of twelve miles' distance in land-carriage, 
which, in the present state of transportation, is an important 
consideration, though the distance from hard roads across the 
low level prairie is about the same. Schooners, of ordinary 
coasting draught, come without difficulty to the wharves of India- 
nola, and with greater difficulty, and with some liability to de- 



254 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tention from grounding, to Lavacca, through, a channel kept 
open by a steam dredge. 

Ships from Europe lie several miles below Indianola, outside 
a bar, as at Mobile, and must employ lighterage to either town. 
There are two towns, of a speculative character, laid out further 
down the bay, La Salle and Saluria, the former on the main, the 
latter upon Matagorda Island, and the proposed terminus of the 
San Antonio and Gulf Kailroad. Of neither of these can we 
speak from personal observation. The mutual jealousy among 
the speculators in these several towns is immense. It is only 
certain, at present, that some one great town must grow up 
upon Matagorda Bay, which will be forever the great sea-gate 
of Western Texas. It is said that since our visit a great storm 
has resulted in the partial removal of the outer bar, and persons 
interested in Western Texas now claim as much water as Gal- 
veston for the entrance to their bay. To any reader who wishes 
to verify the fact, I can only recommend a series of personal 
soundings upon the two bars. 

We spent a quiet Sunday at Indianola. The beach beyond 
the town forms a pleasant promenade, and we enjoyed to the full 
the calm sunny sea, which seemed like a return to an old friend, 
after our months of inland journeying. 

Our hotel was a great improvement on that of the day before. 
The Germans, who compose half the population, have the enter- 
prise to cultivate vegetable gardens, which furnish, at least, 
salads at all seasons. Around one of these gardens we noticed 
a hedge of enormous prickly pear. The native oysters are large 
and abundant. Game of all kinds is cheap. The landlord 
complained, as usual, of the difficulty of obtaining meat in a 
country covered with cattle and sheep. The butcher, in summer, 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 255 

wouldn't kill because it was too warm for keeping meat, and in 
winter because it was too cold or too rainy, lie must go to a 
" saloon" to keep himself warm. 

The yellow fever, last year, was severe, as in all the coast 
towns. In ordinary years, about half the inhabitants leave 
during the hot months for the interior; but there are many plant- 
ers from the Caney and the Colorado who come then to the town 
as a watering-place. Little business is then done, and the New 
Orleans steamers make their trips but once instead of twice a week. 

There is no wood within many miles of the town. That used 
for fuel is brought mostly from Texana, on the Navidad, fifty 
miles distant. The price of wood was nine dollars per cord ; it 
is sometimes more than twenty dollars. Coal, from one dollar 
upwards ; corn, one dollar and fifty cents ; potatoes, four dol- 
lars. The banana produces an abundant but inferior fruit. In 
winter it is cut in, to a height of five feet, and covered with hay. 
Oranges and lemons require protection from northers. 

In the evening we heard a din which proved to be a charivari, 
offered as a tribute of public opinion to a couple who had been 
married in the morning. The bride was suspected not to be im- 
maculate. After some exhibition of endurance, the bridegroom, 
we were told, " caved and treated," that is, came to the door, 
and furnished drinks for the crowd. 

RETURN TO THE UPLAND. 

We left Indianola on the 27th February. Our intention had 
been to visit Corpus Christi, and some other parts of the coast ; 
but we found this wading over wet prairies so extremely dis- 
agreeable, that we determined to retreat to higher land as fast as 
possible. 



256 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

. The water still covered the prairies, and we splashed our way 
through it as before. Leaving at noon, we stopped for the night 
upon the Chockolate, twelve miles distant. The house being 
somewhat crowded, a noise, which seemed to come from several 
young babies, attracted great attention. " The fact is," said the 
father, proudly, " they're twins, and they've got the measles. 
Leastways, there was a lady here when they was seven days old, 
said they looked as if they were going to have the measles, and 
they've been sick ever since." 

" TravlinT' inquired an old man. 

" What, sir V 9 

" Was the lady trav'lin"?" 

" No, sir. She come up here to see 'em from the city. We 
had a great many come here from all about. I suppose as many 
as half of all the ladies in the city come out here. Such an ex- 
traordinary interesting event, you see — twins !" 

A RUNAWAY. 

" Which way did you come V 9 asked some one of the old man. 

" From ." 

" See anything of a runaway nigger over there, anywhar !" 

" No, sir. What kind of a nigger was it ?" 

" A small, black, screwed-up-faced nigger." 

" How long has he been out V 9 

" Nigh two weeks." 

" Whose is he?" 

" Judge 's, up here. And he cut the judge right bad. 

Like to have killed the judge. Cut his young master, too." 

"Beckon, if they caught him, 'twould go rather hard with 
him." 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 257 

"Beckon 'twould. We caught him once, but he got away 
from us again. We was just tying his feet together, and he give 
me a kick in the face, and broke. I had my six-shooter handy, 
and I tried to shoot him, but every barrel missed fire. Been 
loaded a week. We shot at him three times with rifles, but he'd 
got too far off, and we didn't hit, but we must have shaved him 
close. We chased him, and my dog got close to him once. If 
he'd grip'd him, we should have got him, but he had a dog him- 
self, and just as my dog got within about a yard of him, his dog 
turned and "fit my dog, and he hurt him so bad we couldn't get 
him to run him again. We run him close, though, I tell you. 
Eun him out of his coat, and his boots, and a pistol he'd got. 
But 'twas getting towards dark, and he got into them bayous, 
and kept swimming from one side to another." 

" How long ago was that ?" 

" Ten days." 

" If he's got across the river, he'd get to the Mexicans in two 
days, and there he'd be safe. The Mexicans'd take care of him. 

" What made him run t" 

" The judge gave him a week at Christmas, and he made a 
good deal of money, and when the week was up, I s'pose he 
didn't want to go to work again. He got unruly, and they was 
a go in' to whip him." 

" Now, how much happier that fellow'd 'a' been, if he'd just 
stayed and done his duty. He might have just worked and done 
his duty, and his master'd 'a' taken care of him, and given him 
another week when Christmas come again, and he'd 'a' had no- 
thing to do but enjoy himself again. These niggers, none of 
'em, knows how much happier off they are than if they was 
free. Now, very likely, he'll starve to death, or get shot." 



258 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Oh, the judge treats his niggers too kind. If he was stricter 
with them, they'd have more respect for him, and be more con- 
tented, too." 

" Never do to be too slack with niggers." 

We were accompanied, next day, by a California drover, 
named Eankin. He was in search of cattle to drive across the 
plains. He had taken a drove before from Illinois, and told us 
that people in that state, of equal circumstances, lived ten times 
better than here, in all matters of comfort and refinement. He 
had suffered more in traveling in Texas, than ever on the 
plains or the mountains. Not long before, in driving some mules 
with his partner, they came to a house, which was the last on the 
road for fourteen miles. They had nothing in the world in the 
house but a few ears of corn, they were going to* grind in their 
steel mill for their own breakfast, and wouldn't sell on any 
terms. "We hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, but we ac- 
tually could get nothing. The only other thing in the cabin, 
that could be eaten, was a pile of deer-skins, with the hair on. 
We had to stake our mules, and make a fire, and coil around 
it. About twelve o'clock, there came a norther. We heard it 
coming, and it made us howl. We didn't sleep a wink for cold." 

On the banks of the Chockolate we saw a flock of some 500 
sheep. They were Mexican, very poor and thin, coarse-wooled, 
large-framed, long-legged, without wool upon their bellies, legs, 
or heads. A Mexican shepherd attended them, who could speak 
no English. A few goats were herded with them, as is the Mexi- 
can custom, for the prevention of disease. There could not be a 
country, we thought, at this season, less adapted for a sheep-walk 
than this open, flat, wet prairie, without protection of any sort. 
We learned that these were part of a Hock of 7,000, purchased 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 259 

by a Mr. Caldwell, on the Rio Grande, and driven here by Mexi- 
can shepherds. They had been taken first to Corpus Christi, 
afterwards to the upper part of Goliad County, and were now on 
their way to one of the islands of the coast. During the late 
northers 1,500 had died from exposure to the cold and wet. 

We afterwards examined, in Medina Connty a flock of 300 
sheep belonging to a German gentleman named Riecharz, which 
had been provided during the northers with both shelter and hay. 
Not one had been lost by exposure. These were mostly Mexican 
sheep, in process of rapid improvement by admixture of Saxony 
blood. They were regularly housed at night and the consump- 
tion of hay, used only in extreme weather, had been trifling. 

The road from Indianola strikes the uplands along the Guada- 
lupe, twelve miles below Victoria, and thence the road was good 
and dry. We- passed one large plantation, where the negroes 
were planting cotton. The women were sowing from bags, and 
the men ploughing in. An overseer sat upon the ground look- 
ing on. 

RAILROAD HOUSE. 

We stopped, in Victoria, at the Railroad Hotel. As soon as 
our baggage was disposed of, the landlord stepped up and said, 
" Go over and take a drink, gentlemen V On our declining, he 
repeated the invitation to each of us in person. At every other 
arrival he put the same question, when all, including the inn- 
loungers, went together, we afterwards discovered, to a bar upon 
the square, it not being the fashion to have the bar in the house. 
Before night twenty-four travelers had arrived, all with saddle 
horses. 

The advertisement of the house made a point of the great 
number of sleeping-rooms. These were made by partitions of 



260 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

white cotton, without doors. Our own room was furnished with 
two beds, and was entered by every one, indiscriminately, in 
search of water, a match, or a candle, at all hours of the night. 
Of course the whole conversation of the various guests was audible 
— not always of the most agreeable stamp. 

In the public room was a written advertisement, as follows : — 

" NOTICE. 

" T am a candidate for the vacancy in the Board of Aldermen occa- 
sioned by the resignation of the Globe man." (There is a " Globe 
Hotel" in the city.) "I am in favor of establishing an Academy, and 
of the sale of the corporation lands. Also, for the sale of the square on 
which the First Presbyterian Church is built. Also, if elected, I shall 
go for the removal of from the office of Clerk of the Cor- 
poration. These are my views ; and, if elected, I shall remain your 
humble servant, 

THE GUADALUPE TO THE SAN ANTONIO. 

March 1st. — We crossed the Guadalupe upon a ferry-boat, the 
bridge having been long ago carried away in a freshet. The 
ferryman informed us that a steamboat of light draught used to 
ply upon the river, reaching Victoria. In summer there was 
sometimes not more than eighteen inches water in the channel. 
Since our visit I understand that both the lower Guadalupe, as far 
as Victoria, and the San Antonio, as far as Goliad, have been 
made navigable, by individual enterprise. The bottom, at the 
crossing, is heavily timbered. Very few leaves were yet to be 
seen. From the bottom, the ascent is rapid, and our day's ride 
towards Goliad lay through high prairie, with belts of post-oak. 
The soil is sandy, and appeared poorer than on the east side the 
river, but the cattle were in much better order. 

Two men overtook us, and made offers of horse-trading. On 
learning we were from New York, one of them said, " From New 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 261 

York! You're a long way from your native home, aint you"? 
I expect you seem to think the country here tolerable curious. 
Folks from up north always think the people here's awful rough. 
We aint so smart down south as you be up to the north. We 
don't fix up so much, I reckon, do we? Eeckon you see some 
people that's right curiosities, don't you? Well, folks down 
south likes to live rough. It takes all sorts to make a world." 

We passed a man engaged in firing the prairie. He drew a 
handful of long, burning grass along the dry grass tops, at a run. 
Before the high gale it kindled furiously, and in fifteen minutes 
had progressed a mile to leeward, jumping, with a flash, many 
feet at a time. In a moderate wind we had once noted the 
progress of prairie flame, to windward, at about one foot per 
minute. 

Camped on Manahuila creek. The following morning we 
were writing in the tent, waiting the termination of a gentle 
shower which was falling, having had before a delicious bath, of 
agreeable temperature, in the creek, when we heard an indistinct 
roar advancing toward us. As usual, we did not recognize the 
sound for an instant, and thought a freshet was, perhaps, coming 
down the creek. At the door we saw and recognized the black 
cloud approaching, and jumped to the tent pins, which had been 
partly drawn before the shower. We were barely in time ; the 
blast struck us before we could fasten down the doors. The tent 
bellied and swelled and pulled like a balloon, but, securing all 
tightly, we covered ourselves with blankets, and resumed the 
portfolios. Heavy rain accompanied the norther, but in an hour 
the fierceness of the storm was over, and we broke camp and pro- 
ceeded. As spring comes on, the northers lose much of their 
force and duration. 



262 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We saw large flocks of wild geese, and I crept within two 
hundred yards of one, and secured — a quill or two. We soon 
reached Goliad, a settlement of half a dozen houses, two stores, 
a wheelwright's and a blacksmith's shop. 

THE MISSION CHURCH AT GOLIAD. 

While the horses were being shod, I rode to the old Mexican 
town of La Bahia, or old Goliad, on the opposite side of the 
river, to visit the mission and fort, where the massacre of Fan- 
nin took place. There are several of the missions in the neigh- 
borhood, of which this seems to have been the principal. The 
ruins I found quite extensive ; there are the remains of a large 
fort, with bastions, which appears to have been about two hundred 
feet square. Several stone buildings stand about it, all now in 
ruins. Behind one of the bastions, in a corner of the inclosure, 
is the church. It is also of limestone, and in similar style to 
those of San Antonio. The modern village is composed of 
about twenty jacals, large, and of a comparatively comfortable 
character, scattered over two hills. The city was formerly one 
of some importance, and is said to have contained some thou- 
sand inhabitants. It was the head of navigation on the San 
Antonio, and the port of collection for the Bay of Espiritu 
Santo, whence its old name. 

I rode through the village and the fort, and stopped my horse 
before the door of the ruined church. I should have probably 
ridden in, but for a general respect for the worshipful design 
of a church ; for two of those we had lately seen at San An- 
tonio, though less ruinous, are used as stables. As I stop- 
ped my horse I saw the figure of a man beyond a dilapidated 
wall. 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 263 

"Good evening, sir," said I; "can I look within the 
church 1" 

" Oh, yes, certainly," he replied, "why nof?" 

Seeing a frame in the court, on which were hanging two old 
Spanish bells, I rode thither, and fastened my horse. While I 
was looking at the bells, the man stepped over the broken wall, 
and looked at me. He might have taken me for a bandit or a 
Texan Eanger. We had been cautioned against horse-thieves in 
this region, and I had slept with my Colt and bowie-knife 
buckled round my waist, and had added, when the norther arose, 
a blue flannel hunting-shirt, and a low cap, which was drawn 
over my eyes ; the short rifle hung at my saddle-bow. 

He was a man of forty years, thin, dark-complexioned, and 
with features that indicated culture. I raised my cap and 
saluted him, saying that I had ridden over to look at the ruins, 
and had not known that they were occupied. I did not wish to 
intrude upon a family. 

" Oh, no," said he, " no family, only myself. And where are 
you from, sir V 9 

" From New York." 

"Ah, from New York, indeed; you are a long way from 
home. I am glad to see you here. Ah, it's a poor old ruin ; 
come in and you shall see. It was once a very fine church, but 
the Americans destroyed it as much as they could. See, there 
we had a gallery, with the oriel over it ; they burned it. All 
the pictures they burned ; the carvings they cut with knives — ah 
it is all ruins ! It is hard, my people here are so very poor ; 
you have no idea. I don't suppose that thirty dollars could be 
found among them all; as for me, I have just come here, eight 
days ago, and three days I have been a journey to visit some 



264 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

sick. I had no time to do anything. Ah, it seems as nothing 
could be done. See, here I have made a beginning." 

At the end of the church, he had whitewashed, a space of the 
wall, and covered it with calico ; over it, an old and battered 
image, it was now impossible to guess of what, had been set up, 
and several glass candlesticks were placed before it. The rain 
had already beaten in, and stained the walls, and the calico had 
been half-torn off, and thrown upon the floor. 

" The wind," said he, " has done this — the norther this morn- 
ing. I have not yet had time, since I am back, to replace it." 

I asked the history of the church. He knew nothing of it, 
only that there had been a city and a fort, and the church with- 
in the fort ; the Americans had taken it, and, so far as they 
could, had destroyed all. Would I look at the fort? If I 
would excuse him, he would take me through the room where 
he lived. He drew aside a curtain from an arched door, and we 
entered what had been a chapel, with a door at the opposite 
side leading upon the parade of the fort. 

" This," he said, " is my little room ; I could get no other. 
The Mexicans they live like chickens — the men and girls all 
sleep together in the same room. I could not live with them, so 
I came here. They are very kind, but so poor ; but they tell 
me when they shall have finished sowing their seed they will 
give me help. They will clean and repair the church ; they will 
build me a house in the parade ground. Then I shall get some 
old woman to cook for me. Now, I am sorry I can offer you 
no refreshment. When I am hungry I must go to one of their 
houses, and eat what they have prepared for themselves ; but I 
can offer you a very good cigar if you will be so good as to ac- 
cept it." 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 265 

The place was cheerless enough. It may be fancied that a 
dim damp vault-like room after being for years desolate and ex- 
posed, with open doors, to the weather, would not be a picture 
of cheerful comfort. It was lighted only by a round window, 
high up the wall. The furniture consisted of a table, half a 
dozen open trunks, a heap of some hundreds of well-bound books, 
over which the mould was beginning to creep, a few scattered 
garments, a pallet on the floor, and one chair. This he offered 
me, and, seating himself upon the table, continued to smoke and 
talk. 

The Mexicans, he said, certainly once owned all the land about 
here. Now it was all held by Americans, and no Mexican had 
received any pay for it. He did not know, but his people said 
it really belonged to them. They told him they were not well 
treated by the Americans. The Americans thought the Mexi- 
cans to be bad people. The Mexicans thought the same of the 
Americans. The Americans, they said, cheated them in every 
business. They were not allowed to get wood for their fences 
where they had always got it. They were too poor and too 
ignorant to do anything towards insisting upon their rights. 
The Americans, he heard, talk very hard about the Mexicans, as 
if they had no business in the neighborhood ; but he was sure 
the treaty declared they should have the rights of citizens, and 
continue to- hold their property. I said I hoped he would be 
able to help them to secure just treatment. No, his duty was 
not to mingle in their temporal concerns, but he hoped to do 
them moral benefit. They were in an unhappy condition. They 
had no ambition, no desire to improve themselves. If they could 
have leisure to play cards, and could own a small piece of land 

for corn, and a cabin, and some oxen for their carts, they did not 
12 



266 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

look for any tiling better. But they were kind to one another, 
friendly and cheerful, much more so than the Americans. He 
had just been sent here by tie bishop, to see if he could do any- 
thing for them ; but it looked very bad ; the people had no 
money ; they were very poor, and it was all complete ruin. The 
bishop hoped they might make here a seminary, by-and-by. 
He came here the year before, and, after an examination, made a 
claim to the church, which the corporation allowed. But the 
parade-ground, the other ruins, he was obliged to purchase. For 
the country around, so far as he could inform himself, it was un- 
usually healthy, and its beauty and fertility I could see for my- 
self. If I were looking for a residence, he would strongly advise 
me to settle here. Thanking him for his politeness, I rode away, 
with his good wishes for my journey. The contrast of the ruin 
and the good cure with the Texan shop and shop-keeper across 
the river was strong. 

We saw, not far from Goliad, a novel sort of fencing, of squares 
of turf piled into a handsome wall. The Irishman who was at 
work upon it, said he had made many such here, and that they 
had proved strong and firm. Another Irishman rode with us, 
who was from Refugio, where a colony of Irishmen settled in the 
early days. The settlement, he said, had not increased very 
rapidly, but all were comfortable there, and doing well. They 
owned no negroes, as they were not very safe property there — 
they could run too easily across the Eio Grande. At Corpus, 
people who had negroes were obliged to treat them very carefully, 
almost as if they were the masters, for fear they would run. 
This man appeared to be a horse-dealer. After trying to buy 
our mule at one quarter his value, he learned that we were on our 
way to San Antonio, and that we were willing to exchange the 



A TRIP TO THE COA$T. 267 

mare, who was now much worn down, for an animal more adapted 
to rough travel and short fare. He offered us his own horse, 
recommending him in most captivating terms, and informing us 
that he had sold a great many finer horses than the mare in Gan 
Antonio for $30, and that the market there was particularly well 
stocked at present. " We were in San Antonio three weeks ago," 
said I, "and were offered $125 for her." The mention of this 
fact seemed, as it were, to stun him, and, turning to the weather, 
after a short conversation, he rode away. 

The soil of this neighborhood was sandy. We found it, at 
two points, two miles apart, to be two and a half feet deep, 
mainly composed of black vegetable mould, with fine sand closely 
intermixed. The sub-soil was a whitish clay. At the surface 
of the sub-soil was a sprinkling of flinty pebbles. The grass was 
thin, and now in separate shoots, like a crop of young oats. 

A STAMPEDE OF THREE. 

The following day we camped at night many miles from any 
house, near a bog, which furnished the only water we could find 
at sunset. The country was a mesquit prairie, the grass very 
fine, and the trees in scattered clumps at long intervals. After 
supper we wrote a while, by the light of a candle, a luxury we 
took good care to have always with us, then, after seeing that all 
was quiet without, and the fire in a good state of preservation, 
we lay down and drew the blankets over us. We had barely 
fallen into a soft doze, when we heard the sound of hoofs, and 
in a moment a troop of horses dashed, at frightful speed, past 
the tent. The thundering sound shook the very ground under 
us. We sprung to our feet simultaneously, seizing our pistols, 
which were always put within reach at night, and jumped to the 



238 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

door, saying, " those Mexicans have stampeded our horses !" A 
glance was sufficient. Every horse was gone ! We searched for 
any signs of life around the tent, but all was still, save the dog, 
who was growling and uttering an occasional excited yelp. Far 
off the sound of galloping hoofs was dying away in the distance. 
What was to be done ? Here we were in the centre of a big 
prairie, with an excellent tent, and three or four hundred pounds 
of baggage on our hands. The loss of all our animals would 
be serious at any time. Here it was a perfect predicament. We 
had been repeatedly cautioned against horse-thieves about here, 
and, just before night, had met two scowling, ill-dressed Mexicans 
upon the road. We had remarked them particularly, as the only 
really wicked-looking Mexicans we had seen. We both instantly 
referred our mishap to them. Well, nothing was to be gained 
by waiting, at all events. We examined the stakes where we . 
had left the horses ; they were pulled ; the ropes, then, had not 
been cut. At the moment, a sudden clattering gave us a new 
start. A great flock of geese rose noisily from the bog. The 
Mexicans were at once acquitted. Fanny, who had been nearest, 
had been undoubtedly frightened by them, as they settled down 
to feed. The others had followed her motions, and terrified her 
anew, until the joint alarm culminated in that terror of travelers 
on the prairies — a stampede. After a little reflection, we stationed 
Jude at the door of the tent, extinguished the light of the fire, 
and started with the rifle, in the line of the last sound. It soon 
struck the road tracks at an acute angle, and these the runaways 
would undoubtedly follow. All was now perfectly still. There 
was a pale moon, just setting. We walked briskly for a mile, 
then, groping by the light of a candle-end, found the trail of the 
mule, going at full gallop. After another mile, we examined 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 269 

again, he was still going at the same fiery speed. Shortly after, 
we lost the trail, and were unable to discover, by the flickering 
light, where it left the road. Further search was postponed. 
"We anticipated some difficulty in finding the camp again, as the 
night was now very dark, and the dim outlines of the clumps of 
mesquit were so similar. But Jude's ringing bark, as we came 
within hearing of her quick ear, guided us back. 

The start we had had, and the image of the two Mexicans 
lurking about, was not enough to prevent our sleeping as usual, 
but added a singular fury to our dreams. We were each engaged 
all night in hand-to-hand conflicts with Mexican marauding 
bands of ten times our numbers, or fighting our way with the 
recovered animals, from the city of Mexico to the coast. Once, 
I was captured by the mad rabble, who were leading me in tri- 
umph to the sacrificial block, in the temple, when the mule broke 
away from the tall Indian who was leading him, and laying out 
on all sides, opened a stampede-track for himself through the 
mass, through which, jumping suddenly on the mare, I darted 
away like the wind, leaping over jacais, and cactus-fences, not 
without some deep scratches. 

When daylight came, we carefully scanned the horizon ; but not 
an animal was in sight. 

After getting a substantial breakfast, it was agreed that one 
of us should remain to guard the tent, while the other went 
on the almost hopeless search. The wind blew strongly from the 
north, in which direction the horses had gone. Taking another 
look about us, we discovered something in motion far to the 
eastward. With the glass we were fortunate enough to make 
out three horses, slowly walking before the wind. One of them 
seemed to bear some resemblance to Fanny. A short walk set- 



270 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tied the matter, and in an hour our estrays were in camp again. 
Their run had luckily been directly to windward, and, following 
their instincts, after coming to a pause, they turned tail to the 
wind, and walked slowly to leeward, stopping here and there to 
crop the grass. Had the wind been from any other quarter, or 
had they been a few minutes earlier in passing within our range 
of vision, we should have infallibly lost them. They would 
have fallen into the hands of some happy Mexican, or have join- 
ed some wild prairie herd. 

THE SAN ANTONIO RIVER COUNTRY MEXICAN PLANTATIONS. 

The remainder of the route to San Antonio lay through a 
country very similar to that over which we were now passing, 
with occasional belts of post-oak, and, now and then, a piece of 
broad river bottom. It is an undulating surface of very rich but 
light soil, covered with close, fine, mesquit grass, and checkered, 
pleasantly, with clumps of mesquit, and other shrubs and trees. 
Much of it is still uninhabited prairie. We passed but one 
American settlement — the little town of Helena, which had been 
just built. 

About five miles above, upon the west bank, a sort of reli- 
gious colony of Silesian Poles has been established since our 
return. One or two hundred arrived on the ground in February, 
1855, seven hundred more in the autumn, and some Hve hundred 
additional in 1856. The site was chosen by their ghostly father, 
who accompanied them, without discrimination, and the spot has 
proved so unhealthy as to induce a desertion of about one-half 
the survivors, who have made a settlement in the eastern upper 
corner of Medina County. 

We saw some large herds in the finest condition, and it seemed 



A TRIP TO THE COAST. 271 

to us the richest grazing district for cattle or sheep we had yet 
traversed. As we got nearer San Antonio, we passed a greater 
number of Mexican ranches than we had before seen. Two of 
them we had occasion to enter. One was a double cabin, in 
American style. A man in red sash and drawers lay upon the 
bed, which was almost the only piece of furniture, tossing and 
playing with a child. We inquired if we could purchase any 
meat. He referred us to his wife, who was in the garden be- 
hind. Passing through, we found the lady, who took down for 
us about two yards of meat, from several hundred which were 
drying on a clothes-line. It was cut in strips an inch 
thick, and was quite hard and dark-colored. Paying at the rate 
of a dime a yard, w 7 e carried it to camp, but found it so tough 
and so fat' tainted as to be quite useless. We handed it over to 
Jude, who, less fastidious with travel, readily disposed of the 
whole. 

The other house was a respectable stuccoed building, belong- 
ing to a man of some education, speaking English, and giving 
employment to some twenty or thirty Mexican laborers. The 
ground about the door was neatly swept, and in the yard stood a 
Jersey wagon. The lady was well dressed, but coolly occupied 
in a very peculiar search for unconsidered trifles, in the glossy 
hair of her daughter of twelve, who sat en chemise before her ; 
an occupation which was not at all interrupted by our approach. 
We succeeded in procuring a chicken and a few eggs. Not far 
from the house were a number of cabins for laborers. Such 
groups of cabins we also saw once or twice where the occupants 
were their own employers, and worked together for sociality. 
The greater part of the houses were very poor. All were en- 
gaged in corn-planting (5th and 10th of March). Some Mexi- 



272 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

cans here are large landholders and stock-owners. A few of 
them even own slaves, of which we saw two near the crossing of 
the Calaveras. They were working indiscriminately with hired 
Mexicans. Near the house were a gin-house and cotton- 
press, and twenty or thirty small bales of cotton. The Mexican 
slaveholders are said to treat their slaves very cruelly, though 
allowing them at the same time many foolish privileges, which 
increase their capacities, but render them discontented. The 
utensils upon these farms were, as usual, very rude: the plough, 
a sort of long wooden plug, dragged through the soil, having an 
effect much like that of a subsoil plough. The furrows were not 
turned over at all, but were regular and straight. The fences 
were invariably of crooked stakes, of various kinds of wood, 
planted closely in a line, and bound by withes near the tops. 
These small landholders are almost certain to disappear before 
the first American settlers who approach. A quarrel is imme- 
diate, and the weaker is pushed off the log. But throughout the 
South the same occurs — the small whites are everywhere crowded 
upon and elbowed out before the large planters. 



CHAP. V. 

A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 

Finding no company for any long route in Mexico, we aban- 
doned the idea, and set out on the first of April for a short ride 
across the frontier, by ourselves. The danger to be apprehended 
was slight, and confined to the four days we should be compelled 
to pass on the road through the desert, between the western- 
most settlements and the Eio Grande. Here we might lose our 
scalps, should we chance to be seen by any stray band of Co- 
manches, who came down occasionally in foraying parties, from 
the upper plains, much as inland farmers come on a pleasure- 
trip now and then, for a change of diet, to the seaside. But if a 
mail-rider was satisfied to take the chances once a week for $400 
a year, we might well afford to do the same once in a lifetime, 
for the pleasure of the thing. 

The mare being much worn down, we took with us only the 
mule and little Nack — leaving behind the tent and pack, and 
trusting to the kind skies for shelter from rain. 

TRAINS. 

Not far from the edge of the town, on our road, were en- 
camped several trains. One was loading government stores for 
the frontier posts, the others awaiting herds of cattle which they 
were to convey to California. This is customary with the de- 



12* 






274 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

parting trains, as with ships which drop down the bay with the 
tide, and anchor until the final arrangements are made for going 
to sea. 

A California cattle-train, we afterwards saw, consisted of four 
hundred head of oxen, generally in fine, moderately fat condition. 
There were twenty-five men to guard and drive them. Only a 
few of these, old frontier men and drovers, who had before been 
over the road, and could act as guides, were paid wages. The 
remainder were young men who wished to emigrate to California, 
and who were glad to have their expenses paid for their services 
by the proprietors of the drove. They were all mounted on 
mules, and supplied with the short government rifle and Colt's 
repeaters. Two large wagons and a cart, loaded with stores, 
cooking utensils, and ammunition, followed the herd ; and an- 
other wagon was in company, belonging to a French family, 
which was very comfortably fitted up for the six months' resi- 
dence and conveyance of a woman and several children. 

The driving of cattle to California from Texas, as long as the 
market prices permit, is likely to be of increasing importance, as 
the hazard of much loss is small, and the profits often large. 
Four men for a hundred head, where the herd is a large one, is 
considered a sufficient number. Five or six months are usually 
spent on the road. If the market is overstocked, and prices un- 
satisfactory on the arrival of the herd in California, it costs but 
a trifle, in wages to herdsmen, to keep the cattle at pasture, 
where they fatten and improve in actual value. When importa- 
tions have been checked, and the demand increases, the herd can 
again be brought into market. The cattle were costing here, 
this year, not more than $14 a head, while those driven out last 
year brought $100 a head in California. A Texan drover, we 






A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 275 

were informed, the previous year made $100,000 by purchasing 
sheep in Mexico at $1 a head, and selling them in California at 
$20 a head. The exportation of sheep from Mexico is, at pres- 
ent, by law, contraband. 

THE WEATHER AND THE ROAD. 

The year was now well advanced ; summer clothing was 
already sported in San Antonio, and the markets were abund- 
antly supplied with vegetables from the new-made gardens. 
The earlier trees were in full leaf, and with the new coloring and 
the new shadows, the town and environs took tm an unfamiliar 
tone of gay adornment. The coyness of the early season was 
over ; nature had now entered with warm delight upon the 
honeymoon of the year, and was lavish at once of all her spring 
charms. A very Linnaeus might have been caught in the bewil- 
dering beauty, and have forgotten his dry ardor for classifying the 
quivering petals. If we had enjoyed any day's travel before, we 
enjoyed these with a tenfold zest. The April weather con- 
tributed. There were some frigid changes yet, too sudden to 
be agreeable, and now and then a hot dampness pervaded the 
atmosphere, like the sirocco, which caused a great mental and 
muscular depression. But the ordinary temperature was Italian, 
and, of itself, delicious.* 

We rode before evening to the Medina, twenty-five miles. Imag- 
ine, for the country, a rolling sheet of the finest grass, sprinkled 
thick with bright, many-hued flowers, with here and there a live- 
oak, and an occasional patch of mesquit trees, which might be 



* Among the flowering shrubs, we noticed particularly a gay relation of the 
currant family, and a purplish cluster, with a perfume of grapes, which hung 
from a dense, glossy, laurel-leaved evergreen, near the San Pedro spring. 



276 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

pictured as old neglected peach-orchards. The surface undulates, 
and the road leads over much elevated ground, offering very ex- 
tended views. Northward, the hills, a part of the long range 
which stretches from the Colorado to beyond the Nueces, swell 
gradually higher, until they end in a blue and mountainous line, 
sharply cutting the cool northern horizon. In the south, they 
slope gently downwards, into the lap of the Medina. Beyond, 
they again rise gently, covered at last with a soft, hazy forest, 
across which the view faints away into the sky, flushed at sun- 
down by the red smoke of an invisible burning prairie. 

The country Is almost unoccupied. There are one or two 
little settlements of Mexicans and Germans along the road, 
owners of the few cattle that luxuriate in this superb pasture. 
Their houses are jacals, of sticks and mud, with a thick project- 
ing thatch. The roof of one of them was stretched over a gal- 
lery, surrounding the whole house with a very picturesque and 
comfortable effect. 

The Medina is the very ideal of purity. The road crosses 
upon white limestone rocks, which give a peculiar brilliancy to 
its emerald waters. It runs knee deep, and twenty or thirty 
yards wide, with a rapid descent. 

CASTROVILLE. 

Upon its bank stands Castroville — a village containing a 
colony of Alsatians, who are proud here to call themselves Ger- 
mans, but who speak French, or a mixture of French and 
German. The cottages are scattered prettily, and there are two 
churches — the whole aspect being as far from Texan as possible. 
It might sit for the portrait of one of the poorer villages of the 
upper Khone valley. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is the 



A TRIP OVER TH« FRONTIER. 277 

hotel, by M. Tarde, a two-story house, with double galleries, 
and the best inn we saw in the state. How delighted and aston- 
ished many a traveler must have been, on arriving from the 
plains at this first village, to find not only his dreams of white 
bread, sweetmeats and potatoes realized, but napkins, silver forks, 
and radishes, French servants, French neatness, French furni- 
ture, delicious French beds, and the Courrier des Eiats Unis; and 
more, the lively and entertaining bourgeoise. 

Castroville was founded by Mr. Henry Castro, a gentleman of 
Portuguese origin, still resident in the town, under a colony- 
contract with the Eepublic, which passed the legislature the 15th 
of February, 1842. The enterprise seems to have been under 
the special patronage of the Eoman Church. Every colonist 
was a Catholic, and the first concern was the founding of the 
church edifice, the corner-stone of which was laid ten days after 
their arrival, with imposing ceremonies, by Bishop Odin of Gal- 
veston. By the contract with the colonists, each person was to 
receive a town lot, and a piece of outlying land, as a farm. By 
the contract with the state, two thousand persons were to be in- 
troduced within two years. An extension of two years was 
granted in January, 1845. Mr. Castro was to receive a quan- 
tity of land equal to one-half the whole taken by the colo- 
nists, to be located in alternate sections, with the state's re- 
serve. 

Seven hundred persons came first in seven ships. Assembling 
at San Antonio, the advance party started, in a body, for the 
Medina, on the 1st of September, 1844. One board building 
was carried in carts, and in it were housed the temporary provi- 
sions. The settlers built themselves huts of boughs and leaves, 
then set to work to make adobes for the construction of more 



278 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

permanent dwellings. Besides their bacon and meal, paid hunt- 
ers provided abundant supplies of game, and within a fortnight 
a common garden, a church, and civil officers, chosen by ballot, 
were in being, and the colony was fully inaugurated.* 

After struggling with some difficulties, it is now a decided suc- 
cess. The village itself contains about six hundred inhabitants, 
and the farms of the neighborhood several hundred more. 

FRONTIER COLONIES. 

Leaving it, we ascended a high hill, and rode for fifteen miles 
through a more "elevated and broken country, whose beauty is 
greatly increased by frequent groves of live-oak, elm, and hack- 
berry. I have never seen more charming landscapes than some 
of the openings here presented. In the elements of turf and 
foliage, and their disposition, no English park-scenery could sur- 
pass them. 

Beyond Castroville, there are two small villages, settlements 
of German colonists, mostly from the west bank of the Khine ; 
one, Quihi, upon the Quihi creek, a branch of the Seco ; the 
other, Dhanis, upon the Seco itself. A third, Vandenburg, has 
been lately deserted by most of its inhabitants, after they had 
built themselves houses and brought a considerable quantity of 
land into cultivation, because the creek on which they depended 
for water was found to fail in summer. One of those who re- 
mained attempted to dig a well. He reached a depth of one 
hundred and thirty-five feet, and then finding no water, gave it 
up. A few days afterwards, water was observed to have collected 
in the bottom, and the well gradually filled until it now stands' 

* " Le Texas en 1845 : Colonie Francaise." 8vo. pp, 20. Anvers, 1845. 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 279 

constant within fifteen feet of the surface of the ground, enabling 
him and a neighbor or two to keep their farms. 

We stopped a night at Quihi. It is a scattering village, of 
ten or twelve habitations, one of them a substantial stone farm- 
house, the others very picturesque, high-gabled, thatch-roofed, 
dormer-windowed, whitewashed cottages, usually artistically 
placed in the shade of large dark live-oaks. The people seem 
to have been very successful in their venture, to judge by various 
little improvements they are making and the comforts they have 
accumulated. We were domiciled in a cottage of a family from 
Hanover, who came here three years ago. Last year they culti- 
vated over fifty acres of corn, the produce of which they had 
sold to the Government at a dollar a bushel ; they had fifteen 
cows, four mares, and fifty hogs. They had also a large kitchen 
garden, in which was growing a greater quantity and variety of 
vegetables than I have seen in any planter's garden, with 
two exceptions, at the South. Their cottage they had built with 
their own hands entirely ; it was small and composed of very 
simple and inexpensive materials, but was provided with more 
conveniences of living in comfort than many wealthy slave- 
holders' habitations. A number of loads of stone had already 
been carted together, and laid in a square pile near at hand, 
with the intention of building a better house. " My son and 
I can build it when we have no other work to do, so it will cost us 
nothing," said the old peasant. I could not see that the climate 
was to be accused of having in any degree paralyzed his ambi- 
tion or his strength. The family had enjoyed excellent health, as 
had, by their report, all their neighbors. 

The road beyond follows a low ridge which skirts the foot of 
the mountains, at a distance of two or three miles. The live- 



280 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

oaks become mpre stunted and rare, and the mesquit begins to 
predominate. Dhanis, which is distant some twenty-five miles 
from Castroville, presents, certainly, a most singular spectacle, 
upon (ho verge of the great American wilderness. It is like one 
{)[' the smallest and meanest of European peasant hamlets. 
There are about twenty cottages and hovels, all built in much 
the same style, the walls being made of poles and logs placed 
together vertically, and made tight with clay mortar, the Moors 
of beaten earth, the windows without glass, the roofs built so as 
to overhang the four sides, and deeply shade them, and covered 
with thatch of fine brown grass, laid in a peculiar manner, the 
ridge-line and apexes being ornamented with knots, tufts, crosses 
or weathercocks. There is an odd little church, and the people 
are rigid Catholics, the priest instructing the children. 

We spent the night at one of the cottages, and, though we 
slept on the floor, we were delighted with the table, which was 
spread with venison, wheat-bread, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, and 
crisp salad. The bill was less than half that we had usually 
paid in Eastern Texas for bacon and mouldy corn-bread. 

This was a second colony of Mr. Castro, established in 1846, 
but he here appears to have done little else than point out the 
spot aud assign the lands to the colonists. 

During their first year, they told us, they suffered great hard- 
ships, the people being all very poor, and having no means of 
purchasing food except by the proceeds of their labor. Fortu- 
nately, there was then a military station in the vicinity, and the 
quartermaster gave them some employment in collecting forage. 
They arrived too late to plant corn to advantage, and not hav- 
ing had time to make sufficient fences, the deer eat the most of 
what did grow. The second year their crop was destroyed by a 



"A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 281 

"hail-storm. They lived on game and weeds, for the most part, 
during two years. . Eattlesnakes were then common about the 
settlement, and were regularly hunted for as game. In some of 
the families, where there were many small children whose parents 
were unable to leave them to labor for wages, they formed a 
chief article of subsistence. Since their second year they had 
been remarkably prosperous iu all respects. On their arrival 
here it was believed that the richest of the colonists was not 
worth twenty dollars ; now the average wealth of each was esti- 
mated at eight hundred dollars. It consists mainly in cattle. 
They have been every year somewhat annoyed by Indians. The 
colonists had enjoyed better health than in Germany, doubtless, 
because, since their first struggles, they have obtained a better 
supply of wholesome food. Notwithstanding the mean appear- 
ance of most of their dwellings, the people evidently lived in 
greater luxury than most of the slaveholcling Texans. Cows 
were milked, I observed, at every house, night and morning ; 
and a variety of vegetables was cultivated in their gardens. 

The women of the settlement, by the absolute necessity of 
out-door work, had been rendered, it seemed to us, very coarse 
and masculine in character. All the ordinary labors of men, such 
as digging and herding cattle, were performed by them. We 
saw one of them lasso a wild-looking mustang on the prairie, 
and, vaulting upon his back, canter away in search of her cows, 
without saddle or bridle. The condition of the children must be 
yet, for many years, barbarous and deplorable. 

ORGANIZED EMIGRATION, 

This is the last of the organized colonies of Texas that we had 
occasion to examine. We were strongly impressed with the 



282 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

actual results of these enterprises. Not one of them could be 
pronounced a failure, in spite of the most bungling and cruel 
mismanagement, and the severest reverses in execution. In the 
hands of men of sound sense and ability, backed by completely 
adequate capital, there is every reason, from their present condi- 
tion, to believe that the general plan would have been found not 
only remunerative to every party concerned, but would have 
ranked as, in the highest degree, a beneficent acquisition of expe- 
rience, inaugurating almost a new era for humanity. I am con- 
vinced that some similar plan is destined to be adopted for 
settling, at the least cost, and in the best manner, the vast terri- 
torial regions that still are awaiting the pioneers fences, and 
that, by its instrumentality, emigration may be elevated, from a 
barbarizing scramble, to a civilized and worthy institution. For 
the trial, Texas yet offers the fairest and most attractive field in 
the Kepublic. She is accessible with the greatest ease and the 
least expense, from the crowded centres of the world, and has 
every natural quality that can attract population in greater mea- 
sure than her northern rivals. 

The excited experience in emigration of the present year in 
Kansas, has served, at least, to show what might be realized, in calm 
times, by the power of organization and capital. From almost 
every state, emigrants have gone with associated numbers and 
means ; bat the operations of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid 
Society have been especially well known. Whatever the opinion 
held of its actuating impulse, there can be no doubt that the plan 
of a similar but general institution has long been forming in the 
mind of every humane man, who has felt pity and disgust for the 
miseries bred by the want of some such system applied to foreign 
emigration. 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 283 

Had, in this case, the capital been ample, and no political ob- 
structions intervened, the economical success would have been 
secure and incontrovertible. Even under the present difficult 
conditions, it has transferred to the new country many hundreds 
of families, at a saving to them and a profit to the society ; and 
has put directly at their command, conveniences impossible, for 
many years, to the isolated settler. 

New England villages have appeared upon the wild prairies in 
a single fortnight ; and, had all parties retained- their good-humor 
and kept the peace, without foreign interference, Kansas would 
now have been covered with farms, plantations, and thriving 
towns ; and a young state have grown into vigorous being. 

Under the existing regime of laisser aller, the Silesian peasant 
starts, on vague rumor, from the Polish frontier, for the cheap 
and wonderful West. He lugs with him his hereditary loom and 
his wooden plough, to be split, in Wisconsin, into fuel for his 
kettle. He leaves his senses all along the road, and pays his 
passage three times over, in the gauntlet of wolfish sharpers who 
beset his path. He hunts rattlesnakes for food, and lets his 
children grow to savages, while he subdues his field ; and then, 
perhaps, discovers that he has spent all for a worthless title. 
Were a good mercantile system applied to the transaction, he 
might pay for an improved farm with the mere sum saved to his 
traveling purse, and be furnished, from the first, from the profits 
of the agent, not only with temporary subsistence, but with pas- 
tor, doctor, school, newspaper, and saw-nrill. 

There is no philanthropic enterprise that promises half so 
thankful a return as this, or that presses, more peremptorily, for 
consideration and action. We are not worthy of the times we 
live in, if we cannot devise, and put into smooth-working, prac- 



284 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS* 

tical operation, some beneficent and thorough system of organized 
emigration. • 

BORDER SETTLERS. 

For some fifteen miles, the country continued of a similar 
character to that through which we had before passed. Beyond 
here the mesquit trees became thicker and more bushy, the live- 
oaks gradually ceased to appear at all, and we saw that we were 
approaching the great chaparral desert of the Kio Grande valley. 
We passed two or three houses near the Kio Frio, lonely settle- 
ments of Americans, who cultivate corn for sale at Fort Inge. 
At one of these houses I stopped to make an inquiry, and found 
it left in charge of a little black boy of ten years, who could give 
me no other information than that everybody was away, that he 
hadn't lived long with these people, and that he didn't know who 
his father was ; he had been sold away a long time ago. As I 
left the house the child ran after me and called out, " Massa, does 
you know how long it be to Kis'mas !" — " Oh, a long time yet. 
What do you want to know for V — " Coss I'se on'y hired to 
Kis'mas ; I'll get away den, go back whar I belong." 

The road winds along the spurs of the mountains which bound 
the great "staked plains." They are very rugged, descending 
precipitously from the level of the elevated table-land. For 
many miles there is but one practicable pass, the Canon Uvalde, 
from which flows the Sabinal, a small branch of the Frio. It is 
through this and the Bandera Pass, between the head- waters of 
the Medina and the Guadalupe, that the roving bands of Indians 
come on their predatory expeditions from the plains. 

VICTOR CONSIDERANT AND HIS COMMUNITY. 

At the head of the Sabinal are a number of non-slaveholding 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 285 

farmers, from northern states, engaged in sheep and cattle-rais- 
ing, settled together upon a rich and sheltered tract of pasture. 
To the same place, if I am correctly informed, Victor Conside- 
rant has brought the remnant of his communist colony. His 
first position was a very ill-chosen one, upon Trinity river, in 
Dallas county, amid a population of planters, who looked with 
extreme coldness and jealousy upon such an incursion as that of 
a thousand French " agrarians," all foreigners, and, per force, 
free-labor men. The experiment appears to have been a brief 
one. The colony, which arrived in the winter of 1854-5, was 
already, at the end of one season, shattered and dispersed. A 
few remained upon the domain of the association, with some 
separate organization ; a few were faithful to Considerant, and 
have followed him to this new and more hopeful position, while 
the great body scattered, to try their own fortunes, over the 
state. The more intimate reasons and cicumstances of the fail- 
ure are not yet public* 

FORT INGE. 

At night we reached Fort Inge, the military outpost of the 
district. It is situated near the head of the Leona, and adjacent 
to a singular conical rocky hill, said to be the only evidence of 
volcanic action within a large area around. The force stationed 
here was a part of two or three companies of mounted rifles, 
under command of Major Simonson. As is usually the case 
with our nominal Indian forts, there were no structures for de- 
fense, the only thing suggesting them being a stockade of mes- 
quit trunks, surrounding the stables, which were open thatched 
sheds. There were, perhaps, a dozen buildings, of various sizes, 

* An application for the incorporation of M. Considerant's colony has failed 
in the state Senate, at the extra session of 1856. 



2S6 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

as officers' quarters, barracks, bakery, hospital, guard-room, and 
others. These were scattered along the border of a convenient 
parade-ground, pleasantly shaded by blackberries and elms. Be- 
hind runs the Leona — a large brook of clear water. The 
buildings were all very rough and temporary, some of the offi- 
cers' lodgings being merejacals of sticks and mud. But all were 
white-washed, and neatly kept, by taste and discipline. 

We camped not far away, but were hardly established when 
we received a visit from two officers, who, with open hospitality, 
invited us to the mess-table, and the room of an absent lieuten- 
ant. We found our hosts gentlemen of spirit and education, 
upholding in social bearing the reputation which the officers of 
our army have always maintained — preserving on the rough and 
lazy border the cultivation belonging to a more brilliant posi- 
tion. The evening and the table were jovial, but not too free, 
and many a good story was ready to while the hours smoothly 
away. Though the force present was very small — a large de- 
tachment being absent on a " scout" — all the ceremonies of a 
large command were, as is usual, rigidly observed ; five sentinels 
were posted and relieved, and the form of guard-mounting was 
gone through with as much exactness as if a commander-in-chief 
were looking on. The men and their sergeant in uniform, are 
inspected by thfc sOfficer of the day in full dress, and the major in 
fatigue. At Fort Duncan, a more important post, which we 
visited a few days later, a fine band played upon a terrace at 
the close of evening, and a bevy of fashionably-dressed ladies 
added a strange feature to the remote scene. 

THE MAILS. 

The United States mail train for El Paso and Santa Fe was 



A. TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 237 

camped near the fort, on the third night of its outward passage. 
The train consists of two heavy wagons, and an ambulance for 
passengers, who are carried through to El Paso, seven hundred 
miles, for one hundred dollars, and found. "Passengers," the 
contractors advertise, " are allowed forty pounds of baggage, and 
not required to stand guard." There are four mules to each 
vehicle, and one spare mule for each team is led. 

The train is attended by a mounted guard of six men, armed 
with Sharp's rifles and Colt's repeaters. Their pay is forty dol- 
lars a month. A man is lost on nearly every trip out and back, 
but usually through his own indiscretion. After passing Fort 
Inge, there is no change of team for more than five hundred 
miles. The train usually camps from ten o'clock at night till 
four in the morning. At eight o'clock, a stop of an hour or more 
is made, to graze the mules, and for breakfast. Another halt is 
made between three o'clock and sunset. The average distance 
accomplished in a day is over fifty miles. No government 
officer or functionary goes with the mail. The commander was 
an old Texan ranger captain, and the guard, we understood, was 
composed of old rangers. They had, however, so much the ap- 
pearance of drunken ruffians, that we felt no disposition to join 
the party. 

The mail between San Antonio and Eagle Pass " changed 
horses" at the post also, in the afternoon. The mail-carrier is 
mounted, and the mail is carried on a pack-mule. The con- 
tractor is paid eighty dollars a month, and hires a young man to 
carry it once a week each way, so that he has but one day's rest 
a week — for thirty dollars. The labor is severe, and the danger, 
in the long run, great. A mail-rider, running in a similar man- 
ner to another post, had just been murdered. The mail leaves 



2SS A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the Leona usually at four in the afternoon. About midnight, 
the rider informed us, he quits the road, and searches for a se- 
cluded place, where he shall be hidden by bushes. Having chosen 
the spot, he unpacks his mule, and lariating his animals, makes 
a pillow of the mail-bags, and sleeps till he wakes from his first 
nap — usually after sunrise. Before night he is able to reach 
Eagle Pass. The distance between the posts is sixty miles. 

AN INDIAN CAMP. 

We accompanied, on the following day, an ambulance excur- 
sion to visit an Indian camp at the head of the Leona, three 
miles north of the fort. It was the first time I had had the op- 
portunity of coming in contact with the native savage unalloyed, 
and my curiosity was on the alert. The camp was of a portion 
of the tribe of Lipans, with a few Tonkaways, and Mescaleros — 
numbering, perhaps, in all, one hundred. They had been re- 
cently brought in from the plains by the Indian agent, according 
to a treaty by which they were to receive a certain pension in 
clothing and food, for keeping quiet, and for substituting the use 
of the plough for that of the scalping-knife. 

The approach to the camp was at least satisfactorily pictur- 
esque ; a group of wigwams, bright blankets, and camp-fires were 
scattered through the shady grove round the spring, suggesting 
a pleasant sketch of the natural socialism of the uncontaminated 
man. But this was the last of the picturesque, or of anything 
fanciful or agreeable. I will impart in confidence to the reader, 
that the tamed sort of Indians he has seen and carelessly de- 
spised at Saratoga and Niagara, Eastport aod Montreal, are by 
no means as degenerate sons of the forest as I used to think. 
They are every bit as real, and ten times as good and decent as 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 289 

this noble savage of the plains. Here, at least, was nothing but 
the most miserable squalor, foul obscenity, and disgusting brut- 
ishness, if there be excepted the occasional evidence of a sly and 
impish keenness. We could not find even one man of dignity ; 
the universal expression towards us was either a silly leer or a 
stupid indifference. 

Bat to write down sensations and reflections in a paragraph of 
my own would be flat burglary, when I have all the time by me 
the quenching summary in Household Words : 

" To come to the point at once, I beg to say that I have not the least be- 
lief in the Noble Savage. I consider him a prodigious nuisance and an 
enormous superstition. His calling rum fire-water and me a pale-face, 
w T holly fail to reconcile me to him. I call him a savage, and I call a sav- 
age a something highly desirable to be civilized off the face of the earth. 
I think a mere gent (which I take to be the lowest form of civilization) 
better than a howling, whistling, clucking, stamping, jumping, tearing 
savage. It is all one to me whether he stick a fish-bone through his 
visage, or bits of trees through the lobes of his ears, or birds' feathers in 
his hair ; whether he flatten his head between two boards, or spread his 
nose over the breadth of his face, or drag his lower lip down by great 
weights, or blacken his teeth, or knock them out, or paint one cheek red 
and the other blue, or tattoo himself, or oil himself, or rub his body 
with fat, or crimp it with knives. Yielding to whichsoever of these 
agreeable eccentricities he is a savage — cruel, false, thievish, murderous ; 
addicted more or less to grease, entrails, and beastly customs ; a wild 
animal with the questionable gift of boasting ; a conceited, tiresome, 
blood-thirsty, monotonous humbug." 

Not far from the camp was a solitary house, belonging to Mr. 
Black, an American who had engaged in cultivating corn here 
for sale at the fort. It must be an extreme idiosyncrasy or a 
strong instinct of profit, that would induce a man to settle among 
such unreliable neighbors. His house was now overrun with a 
swarm of these vagabonds, who, two weeks later, were loose 
13 



290 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

again upon the settlements, scalping, kidnapping, and throat- 
cutting. 

We spent an hour or two in the camp, visiting almost every hut. 
These were simply slight tents of poles and skins, of larger or 
smaller size. In each were a few rude utensils, scattered over a 
heap of skins and filthy blankets. The faces of both sexes were 
hideously streaked with paint, the features very coarse, nose 
large, and cheek-bones particularly prominent. The faces of the 
boys and girls were a pleasant relief, containing some possibilities, 
though after all but a slight mitigation of the parental traits. 
All were eager for a dime, and went through any amount of de- 
grading nonsense to secure it. A few half-starved Mexican horses 
were staked outside the camp. The chief, " Castro," was absent 
with some of the "braves" on a visit to " Chiquito," the chief 
of another branch of the tribe now encamped in the Canon 
Uvalde. 

A RIDE WITH OUR RED BROTHERS. 

On our return trip we had the distinguished honor of making 
a personal acquaintance with this hero, under somewhat dubious 
circumstances. We were riding over the ridge between Quihi and 
Castroville, some seven miles from the latter place, when, hearing 
a noise behind, we looked around, and discovered a squad of 
armed Indians close upon us, and coming up at a quick trot. 
There was but a moment for consultation. We well knew that 
no armed Indians ought to be found where these were, but whe- 
ther these were a friendly exception we could not tell. If 
they were on a maraud they could not have fallen on a prettier 
prize than the mule and horse we rode, the guns and Colts we 
carried, and the comely scalps we wore. Should we fight, should 
we run, or should we keep about our business, and trust to cir- 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 291 

cumstances? The odds were against us in any one of these 
proceedings, and we naturally fell into the last while awaiting 
decision. 

We were so far within the extreme settlements that we 
had laid aside all precaution, and our Colts had been put in 
our saddle-hags to relieve us of the weight. We had only time 
to get them out and buckle them to the waist, and to whisper 
hurriedly, " Don't let them separate us, at any rate," when they 
came up — the evident chief upon a mule close on our right, a 
second on our left, a third insisting upon a place between us. 
This last we resisted, but a sort of leer from the old chief appa- 
rently ordered him to persist. There was nothing for it but to 
yield the point, as we had, per force, assumed the friendly view 
of things. The troop had adapted themselves to our pace, and 
we now presented the odd spectacle of a platoon of three Indians 
and two white men, rilling the road, followed by a similar platoon 
of Indians. In fact, we were prisoners under escort. 

I looked towards the chief who rode by my side, and, assuming 
as much native dignity as I could command, nodded. He return- 
ed the nod with a grunt, which I was unable to translate. For a 
few minutes more not a word was said. Every one of the squad 
was devouring, with his eyes, our accoutrements and our animals. 
Not a screw on the rifle nor a buckle on the bridles seemed to 
escape a close scrutiny. There were many grunts of satisfaction 
which yielded us equivocal pleasure. We returned their compli- 
ment, by eying, with equal curiosity, their faces, dresses, and 
arms. 

The silence becoming somewhat awkward, I broke it with a 
venture, that might either do me credit or betray a total inexpe- 
rience. 



292 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Lipanos V* 

" Si." — Grunt. — Pause. — " Americanos V 9 

« Si."— Pause. 

" To San Antonio V s 

" Yes." 

" Where from V* 

" San Fernando." 

" Ho !" — With a look at his companions. — " Indians in San 
Fernando !" 

" Yes. Many." 

"What kind V* 

" Lipans, Mescaleros, Kickapoos, Comanches, Tonkaways, 
Seminoles. — All drunk. — All fools." 

This seemed to excite a great hilarity in the chief. He wished 
me to say it again and again, repeating, "so they were all drunk, 
were they," and making his friends enjoy it with a sort of spark- 
ling chuckle. 

I had evidently succeeded in winning his esteem ; for he now 
entered upon a general conversation on the various merits of 
whisky, corn, horses, and Germans. 

Any apprehensions of sudden violence were now allayed, par- 
ticularly on our discovering that one of the riders behind was a 
young female. 

I inquired if this girl were the chief's squaw. " Yes," he said, 
with a scowl, intended to forbid any further investigation. I 
asked if he were the chief of the tribe. " Yes." " Castro or 
Chiquito V — I had remembered the names since our excursion to 
the camp. " Castro," said he, with a sneer, that indicated no 
particular respect for his royal brother. He was going to San 
Antonio, he told us, to have an audience of the Indian agent, in 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 293 

which he was to submit, on the part of his tribe, the proposition 
that the Lipans should make a series of journeys into Mexico for 
the purpose of stealing horses and mules, and bringing them to 
the Americans. This he seemed to think was a grand, novel 
and philanthropic idea, which would undoubtedly commend 
itself to every mind and bring eclat to himself and admiration 
and respect to his nation. 

Castro was dressed in a buckskin shirt, decorated profusely 
with bead- work. Upon his bare head was a wreath of fresh oah 
leaves. Hanging from the ears were heavy brass rings, and 
across his face blazed a vermilion streak, including the edge of 
the eyelids, whose motion had a horrid effect. The eyelashes 
and eyebrows had, as usual, been pulled. His face was not 
without some natural dignity and force, but the predominant 
expression was wily and brutal. 

The squaw was a girl of delicate features and slight propor- 
tions, showing signs of fatigue and hardship. She rode astride, 
like the rest, dressed in a tolerably neat and pretty buckskin 
cape, with fringed leggins. The horses of the party, though 
probably the best belonging to the tribe, were small, worn, and 
inferior. The mule on which the chief rode, was alone in toler- 
able working condition. 

At Castroville, which we at length reached, not without some 
relief, we shook off the infliction of our friends, resisting their 
invitations to stop with them to fire up at the first grocery. We 
afterwards came up with the party again, within a few miles of 
San Antonio — every man on the verge of intoxication, Castro 
himself begging for the personal loan of four bits, and denounc- 
ing us with maudlin ferocity for refusing so slight a favor to so 
old a friend. 



294 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The precise object of this expedition of the chief to San An- 
tonio was left in mystery. It appeared afterward that our ride 
with them had not been as little attended with danger as we 
thought ; and that this was probably a sort of final scouting trip 
before the commencement of hostilities. 

INDIAN DEPREDATIONS. 

We had hesitated at the Medina, whether to go on to San An- 
tonio or to turn up the valley, and pass the night at a sheep- 
ranch upon the San Geronimo, belonging to Mr. Callaghan, 
which we had been invited to visit. The slight inducement of 
seeing our letters one day earlier, struck the balance. The fol- 
lowing morning came news that the ranch had been visited dur- 
ing the night by Indians, who had killed a Mexican shepherd, 
carried off a second boy, and shot at the third, who brought the 
news. Later in the day, an express arrived from a settlement 
ten miles nearer San Antonio, with intelligence of a similar out- 
rage. The savages had appeared at the house of a settler named 
Forrester, demanding something to eat. As the poor fellow was 
entering the cabin to comply, he was shot from behind, and fell 
dead on the threshold. His wife sprang out at the other door, 
and, looking back, saw two of her children struck down by 
hatchets, and a third running to the bushes, the Indians in full 
pursuit. She escaped unobserved to the nearest settlement. This 
occurrence took place within sixteen miles of the town. An ex- 
pedition in pursuit was made up, and Castro, who had shown 
great excitement on hearing the news, offered his services as 
trailer, affecting the greatest indignation at the deed, which he 
declared must have been done by the Comanches. But the trail, 
when found, had evident marks of Lipan origin. When this was 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 295 

whispered, Castro became greatly disturbed, and in the night 
disappeared with the horse belonging to the leader of the pursu- 
ing party. An express was sent back, with orders to detain the 
remainder of Castro's men, who were encamped at the edge of 
the town ; but they were on the alert, and all escaped save one, 
who was killed by a musket-ball. 

Our own conversational ride had been the last polite inter- 
course with the tribe, and probably our scalps were only saved 
to us by the hankering of the brutes for a parting draught of 
whisky. Open war at once broke out ; the Lipans decamped to 
the plains, and henceforth ranked as outlaws, to be shot down at 
will. Frontier murders became the order of the day, and for 
more than two years, hardly a week elapsed without a visit to 
some exposed settlement from a gang of Indians, who left their 
arrows sticking in cows and sheep, drove off cattle and horses, 
shot down whoever appeared least likely to resist, and carried 
sleepless excitement and terror before them. They must have 
taken more than a hundred lives by the most horrid means, 
destroyed many thousands of dollars' worth of property, and, 
indirectly, by putting an end to the progress of a whole district, 
have affected landholders and the state to the amount of mil- 
lions. 

INDIAN TKIBES IN TEXAS. 

It is extremely difficult to form a trustworthy estimate of the 
number of Indian tribes. Those beyond civilized bounds are 
continually upon the move, ignorant even of their own numbers, 
and prone to make themselves formidable by exaggerated 
statements. In 1853, there was thought, by the commissioner 
of Indian affairs, to be within the limits of the state, a total of 
20,000. This was probably, even then, a large reckoning, and 



296 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the diminution has since been rapid. At all points of contact 
with the white race, they melt gradually away. At least one- 
half of the Lipans have been exterminated by powder and ball, 
in the open war of the last years. Many Comanches have per- 
ished in the same violent manner. On the other hand, the 
Apaches have extended themselves in floating parties from the 
neighboring Mexican states, toward the coast, making now fre- 
quent appearance upon the El Paso road. A part of the 
remaining Comanches have been brought to settle upon eighteen 
leagues of land given by Texas to the United States for the pur- 
pose. This reservation lies within five miles of Fort Belknap, 
upon the Clear Fork of the Brazos. There are fixed upon it 
(July, 1856) 1,540 Indians, of various tribes, who have ploughed 
and cultivated eight hundred acres of corn. They have made 
crops now for two seasons in succession, and profess to be grati- 
fied at the change in their mode of life. In Eastern Texas are 
some 3,000 of the semi-civilized Creeks, Delawares, and Chero- 
kees. In the north are some of the old Wichita and Waco tribes. 
If these be estimated at 1,000, the Comanches at 3,000, and the 
remnant of Lipans, Tonkaways, and Mescaleros at 1,000, and 
4,000 be allowed for the wandering, little-known tribes of the 
great plains, we have a total of about 12,000 living within the 
bounds of Texas. 

Nothing can be more lamentable than the condition of the 
wandering tribes. They are permanently on the verge of starv- 
ation. Having been forced back, step by step, from the hunt- 
ing-grounds and the fertile soil of Lower Texas to the bare and 
arid plains, it is no wonder they are driven to violence and angry 
depredations. As to our policy towards them, we saw too little 
either of it or of them to justify the expression of an opinion, 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 297 

having any other foundation than common sense. The border- 
ers' idea, which looks upon them as blood-thirsty vermin, to be 
exterminated without choice of means, was imperatively upper- 
most in our minds while in their presence. A look into their 
treacherous eyes was enough to set the teeth grinding and rouse 
the self-preservative tigerhood of the animal man, latent since 
we ran naked like the rest in the jungles. If my wife were in a 
frontier settlement, I can conceive how I should hunt an Indian 
and shoot him down with all the eagerness and ten times the 
malice with which I should follow the panther. Yet the power 
of even a little education on these chaotic, malicious idiots and 
lunatics can hardly be over-estimated. How easily has the In- 
dian element in Mexican nationality been developed into civilized 
and productive cooperation. After the foundation of Frede- 
ricksburg by the German settlers, the principal supplies of food 
were obtained from the Indians, and the people were almost in 
consternation when the forts were first established near, and the 
Indians withdrew their supplies and their profitable barter. But 
while whisky is sold at ten cents a quart, no general melioration of 
the condition of the grown border savages can be expected ; still 
their young, like those of other animals, can be caught and 
tamed. This is the excellent suggestion of Secretary McLelland 
in his last report on our Indian policy. It has even been carried 
out to a certain extent with gratifying results. The plan of " re- 
servations" is a good one, but should be considered as only a 
first step, and, where practicable, the reservation should, for ob- 
vious reasons, be entirely inclosed by old settlements. The 
Comanches, for instance, at Fort Belknap, will be almost certain, 
on some sudden suspicion, or from mere weariness, to make a 

stampede to their old plains. Had they to run the gauntlet of 
13* 



298 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. % 

a hundred miles of villages, they would be delivered from tempt- 
ation.* Once confined in small bodies, within rigid limits on 
all sides, gradual restriction by other laws will be practicable. 
The Maine law can be attempted, and a compulsory school law 
be soon enforced. Some other future than extermination will 
then, at least, be open. 

But such governmental philanthropy is only in practice a jolly 
job, in which, as usual, the least possible is done, and the ut- 
most possible paid. The smaller the reliance on that the better, 
and, meanwhile, might not a larger portion of the current of 
religious contributions be turned with advantage into this nearer 
channel ? The Jesuit mission-farms are an example for us. Our 
neighborly responsibility for these Lipans is certainly more close 
than for those Feejees, and if the glory of converting them to 
decency be less, the expense would certainly be in proportion. 

FRONTIER DEFENSES. 

The deliberate slowness of the national sword is as notorious 
along the frontier as the good-natured blindness to official lar- 
cenies. Justice always comes lumbering one day behind the 
rogue. With the exception of the " mounted rifles," we have 
no force that pretends to meet the Indian on his own ground. 
Keeping a bull-dog to chase musquitoes would be no greater 
nonsense than the stationing of six-pounders, bayonets, and dra- 
goons for the pursuit of these red wolves. The vicinity of forts 
is even more dangerous than the unprotected frontier, for the 



* " On the 12th of June, 1856, a fight took place, on the Sabinal, between five 
Americans and twenty-five Indians. During the affray, one of the Americans 
received no less than five arrows in his body. This was undoubtedly a roving 
band that had escaped from the Reservations.'*— San Antonio Paper. 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 299 

fine horses and arms of the stolid regulars are an exciting at- 
traction for the savages. Even the mounted rifles furnish them 
some keen sport ; for a few days before we were at Fort Inge, 
the stable-yard, guarded by four sentinels, had been entered at 
night, and half a dozen horses run off. ^The party was fired 
upon by the guard, but the bold fellows got clear, leaving only 
one horse and some drops of blood behind them. At Fort Dun- 
can such depredations were frequent. A sergeant, who was 
bringing in a load of hay, was pounced upon, within a mile of 
the *fort, and, before he could rally the muskets of his escort, 
three mules were cut from the traces under his nose, and jerked 
into the chaparral. 

The news of the Forrester murder reached San Antonio about 
nine in the morning. Two Germans hastily borrowed our pistols, 
telling us what had occurred, and in ten minutes were in the 
saddle on the plaza. The squad of mounted infantry, ordered to 
join the volunteers, was ready six hours after. 

In truth, the inefficiency of regular troops for Indian warfare 
needs no evidence. Wherever posted, they are the standing butt 
of the frontiersmen. They should be placed at work, in times of 
peace, upon the fortifications that will be subject, in war, to regu- 
lar attacks by disciplined battalions. The system of arming the 
border-settlers, subjecting them to the call of one of their own 
number, and paying them in the ratio of their activity and their 
services, is the only rational one that meets the circumstances. 
They are on the spot, and being the interested parties, are always 
sleeplessly alert and versed in every trick of their wily enemies. 

TEXAS RANGERS. 

A system nearly equivalent was that of ranging-companies 



300 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

adopted by the Texan Bepublic. These were so many organized 
tribes of civilized white Indians, living in moving camps beyond 
the border, always ready for the chase of the red-skin, at or with- 
out a moment's notice. Their wild life and exciting combats 
were as romantic and attractive to adventurous young men as any 
crusade of old, and on their rolls may be read the names of many 
men who would never be suspected now of rampant blood and 
deviltry. Ffom many road-talks, from Germans who had ranged 
in their ranks, and from our companion, B., we collected some 
notes of their characteristics. 

Any one, having obtained from the government a commission 
to form a ranging-company, advertised a rendezvous, where all 
wishing to join should be on hand at a specified time, when they 
were inspected by the enlisting officer. The men furnished their 
own horses (American or large mustangs), saddles, pistols, and 
knives — the state providing only rifles. The pay was $25 per 
month. The recruiting officer was only provisionally captain, 
the corps, when organized for service, choosing its own leaders. 
Bations of hard bread and pork, or, sometimes, fresh beef, flour, 
rice, sugar, and coffee, were served out once in four days, with a 
bushel of corn and hay for the horse. If sent on a separate scout 
where rations could not be taken, they were drawn and sold on 
their return, the party subsisting upon game. 

They carried no tents, and seldom employed baggage-wagons. 
Where they were to make a long camp, they usually built log 
huts, otherwise, lay, rolled in their blankets, wherever they 
pleased, within the lines of their sentinels. 

B. told us that he had once been out six months from the set- 
tlements, with nothing to eat but game during that time. They 
returned, at length, to a post, where a single load of corn and 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 301 

bacon was found. It was divided and served out, each man's 
ration consisting of about a pint of mouldy corn and a " right 
smart chunk of bacon." Every man used it as he pleased. For 
himself, he took his corn and broke it as fine as he could between 
two flat stones, and then, with some fat, tried from the bacon, 
mixed a cake, which he baked, wrapped in green leaves, by a bed 
of ashes and hot coals in a hole in the ground. He had never 
eaten anything the memory of which was more delicious. 

They dressed as they chose, generally in flannel shirts and felt 
hats, sometimes in buckskin suits. 

One of the gentlemen at Sisterdale described a company he saw 
coming into San Antonio, after having been out six months. 
They had only a few rags tied together and drawn round them 
for decency. After parading the plaza they left their horses 
with a guard, and all went into the stores. In a few moments 
were seen negroes coming out of every store with bundles of rags, 
which they threw into the street, and presently appeared the 
rangers, in fine cloth, stove-pipe hats, and all the etceteras. 
Once, while in Mexico, a regiment was in so sorry a plight, that 
an order was given from head-quarters for supplying it with 
clothing. A suit of dragoon's uniform was served out for each 
man ; but, disliking the appearance of uniform, they sold or 
gambled all away, only the officers keeping their new rig. Dis- 
satisfied at the novel plumage of their officers, they managed to 
steal every suit, and returned it, with the gold lace and orna- 
ments — blackened. 

Men and officers were on terms of perfect equality, calling each 
other by their Christian or nick-names. Their time, when not 
in actual service, was spent in hunting, riding, and playing cards. 
The only duty was for four (out of seventy) to stand guard. 



302 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Men were often absent, without leave, three or four days, without 
being reprimanded. They fought, when engaged, quite independ- 
ently, the only order from the commander usually being — " All 
ready, boys ? Go ahead." 

Their principal occupation has always been Indian fighting, 
but two or three regiments of them were employed, during the 
Mexican war, with great advantage, mainly as scouts, pioneers, 
and foragers. At Monterey, they stormed a battery on foot, 
leaving their horses and rifles, and fighting with only bowie-knife 
and Colt. After the city was taken they were prepared to enjoy 
themselves, but when they had caused much annoyance by their 
riot, a few regiments of volunteers were ordered to clear the town 
of the Texas Rangers, 

The commanding-officer of one of the regiments, alter their 
arrival on the Rio Grande, early in the Mexican war, called his 
men together, and addressed them as follows : 

" I've got an order, boys, to parade the regiment to-morrow 
morning, at ten o'clock, to be reviewed by General Taylor. I 
don't know 7 what the devil we ought to do about it, but I reckon 
we'd better all draw up in a line, and when he comes give him 
three cheers." Accordingly, when the General appeared, the 
order was given — u Three cheers for General Taylor." The 
cheers were given, every man waving his hat, after which he tossed 
it into the air, or sent it scaling over the General's head, and, 
drawing his revolver, fired five rounds, in a random feu-de-joie, 
whooping, hallooing, yelling, and making whatever independent 
demonstrations of respect and welcome he saw fit. 

During the later years, one-half of some of these companies 
was composed of Germans, who were not required to understand 
English, beyond the words of the general orders. We were 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 303 

shown, at Sisterdale, an arrow, which had pierced one of them 
near by, who was stationed as guard over some horses at pasture. 
He had solaced himself with a newspaper, and the Comanches, 
creeping up, had driven the noiseless bolt through its folds and 
the body of the careless ranger. 

A CAPITAL SCOUT. 

We were fortunate enough to procure at Fort Inge a good 
guide for the Bio Grande. He was recommended to us by the 
officers as an excellent scout, and a very reliable man ; and so 
we found him. He was also neat, quiet, and orderly ; good- 
natured without being obtrusive, and communicative without 
being garrulous and tiresome — a combination of good qualities 
we found in no other frontiersman. He could assume the 
Mexican manner and tongue so perfectly that the Mexicans would 
not believe that he had not been born in their country. He 
could also speak several Indian languages, and could use the 
signs of various other tribes. His notions of Indian character 
commended themselves to my judgment in an unusual degree. 
Though he despised and hated the savages as frontiersmen al- 
ways do, and loved to find any decent and manly pretext for 
killing them, he gave them credit for some perceptive character, 
which made them a little more worthy of respect. 

" Why do people who write books," he asked, " always make 
Indians talk in that hifalutin way they do? Indians don't talk 
so, and when folks talk that way to them they don't understand 

it. They don't like it neither. I went up with Lieutenant , 

when he tried to make a treaty with the Northern Apaches. He 
had been talking up in the clouds, all nonsense, for half an 
hour, and I was trying to translate it just as foolish as he said 



304 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

it. An old Indian jumped up and stopped me — ' What does 
your chief talk to us in this way for ? We an't babies, we are 
fighting men ; if he has got anything to tell us we will hear it, 
bat we didn't come here to be amused, we came to be made 
drunk, and to get some blankets and tobacco.' " 

He was born in London, but came when a child to Ohio, 
where he was educated. He, at first, said that he remembered 
nothing at all of England, but afterwards asked — 

" Aren't there little flowers that grow along by the fences in 
England that they* call cups?" 

" Buttercups — yes." 

" And another little flower in the fences that smells very 
nice — haws, is it ? — and another in the grass — " 

" Primroses," I suggested. 

"Ah, yes, that's it — cups and primroses. I thought it was in 
England ; there wan't no such in Ohio. I can remember going 
out with my mother into the country and picking them. That's 
the only thing I can remember in England." 

He came to Mexico with the volunteers, and when his regi- 
ment was paid off, joined the Texas Rangers. After having 
acquired the Mexican dialect he was placed in the spy company. 
Once, while engaged in a reconnoissance, they were intercepted 
by a very strong party of the enemy. It was agreed that they 
should charge pell-mell through their columns, every man to 
look out for himself. He got through with his life, and escaped 
pursuit, but received a blow which had left him since nearly 
powerless in his right arm. After the close of the war he had 
earned his living as a scout for Government, and as guide and 
interpreter to people doing business in Mexico. In his wander- 
derings, in this capacity, he once nearly reached the Gulf of 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 305 

California. He had been taken prisoner by the Comanches, and 
moved about with them, as their slave, for a month before he 
succeeded in making his escape. 

A man so trustworthy and competent in his business, and yet 
so modest, is rarely found. His name is John Woodland, and 
any one who has occasion for his services may probably obtain 
them for two dollars a day, by applying to him at Fort Inge. 

AN ESCORT. 

Fortunately also for us, there arrived at the fort, the night 
before we left, two officers en route to their posts on the Kio 
Grande. They were provided with an ambulance, or large Jer- 
sey wagon, drawn by six mules and an escort of two mounted 
riflemen. We joined company, and, with their driver and ser- 
vant, our whole party, for the two days' ride, to Fort Duncan, 
numbered nine. 

BEYOND SETTLEMENTS. 

Before noon, although a hearty mess-table breakfast had been 
eaten too late to permit us yet an appetite for dinner, Woodland 
advised us to halt, as we arrived at the last point for a long dis- 
tance at which we could get good water, shade, and grazing. 
We had, of course, brought no corn, having left our pack behind 
us. There were rations for the Government horses in the am- 
bulance, and the officers, with their escort, had gone on without 
stopping. As we lounged on the ground — our horses roped out 
to graze near us — I asked the scout if he did not smoke. 

" No," said he ; "I noticed that men who used tobacco, when 
they had to go far away from the settlements, very often got out 
of it, and it made them very uncomfortable, so I quit using it 
altogether ; T never use liquor either, except in the way of 



306 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

politeness or for medicine, so I never have to carry any with me, 
and it's so much weight saved." 

After we had eaten our " snack," I took a nap. When I awoke, 
Woodland remarked — 

"A couple of fellows got killed here last year? 

" How ?" 

" They had been eating their dinner, and afterwards they went 
to sleep, I reckon, and some Indians crept up and shot them. 
They were scalped, and everything they had taken away. We 
buried them just over there, back of you." 

" Ah ! you did? Well, don't you think we might as well get 
away from here now? We shall hardly overtake the escort 
before dark." 

" There's a hole, ten miles on from here, where there's water 
generally at this time of year ; I reckon, if they make a noon- 
ing at all, we shall find them there — if they don't, we can't 
catch them before night. But the horses have about filled them- 
selves ; so, if you are ready, we'll saddle up." 

A LA BELLE ETOILE. 

We did not overtake the soldiers till nine o'clock at night. 
They were camped on the brow of a little gully, at the bottom 
of which trickled a weak streamlet of fresh water. Good wood 
was .scarce, and their fires were already smouldering, though a pot 
of coffee had been kept hot for us. They had finished their own 
suppers, and the officers sat smoking over one pile of embers, 
and the riflemen at another. The mules w r ere eating their corn 
at the tongue of the ambulance ; the soldiers' horses were staked 
out near their fire ; and the soldiers themselves, wrapped in their 
great loose overcoats, were frightening out of his wits, with 



\ 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 307 

Indian yarns, the officer's servant — a free Virginia negro. The 
grass was very scanty, and our first care was to select the best 
spots within gunshot of our tires to stake our own horses. We 
had shot a couple of rabbits, and Woodland in a few minutes 
dressed and cooked them a la Texas Ranger, which we presently 
agreed with him was the only way in which a rabbit should ever 
be cooked, when the requisite conveniences could be obtained. 
The process is thus : the rabbit being dressed, skewer it with a 
shaft of green mesquit ; rub salt over it generously ; lay it 
upon a bed of red embers for from a minute to a minute and a 
half, according to your appetite; take it up; jerk off any flaky 
parts, and eat them out of hand ; then lay the other side upon 
the embers, and leave it for from three-quarters of a minute to 
a minute and a quarter, according to the eagerness of the com- 
pany ; take it up ; tear the ^hole into as many parts as the 
number of the company requires ; serve immediately on sharp- 
ened mesquit sticks. 

After supper we replenished the fire, and brought our horses 
closer; then took our saddles and blankets and laid down out- 
side of them, on the edge of the bank — because, as the scout 
observed, if we should have any visitors in the night, they would 
be likely to steal up through the gully. The officers had already 
retired to rest in the ambulance ; the driver and servant were 
snoring under it, and the gleams of the soldiers' pipes appeared 
like revolving light-houses, one after another, from a little knoll 
opposite to us, where they had taken their station as our picket- 
guard. Each one of us had a revolver and a knife at his waist. 
As we lay down, Woodland instructed us thus : " I've got a 
habit when I go to sleep to take off my Colt always and stick it 
under the fork of my saddle ; then if it rains — 'tisn't no matter 



308 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

how hard — there's no danger of it's getting wet, and I know just 
where 'tis. I always sleep with my head on my saddle, and if I 
hear anything in the night I can slide my hand in and get it, 
without making any rustling, quicker than I could take it out of 
my belt. I suppose 'twould be just as well if you did so. This 
here grass is so poor, there wouldn't be any on 'em round here 
unless they came a purpose to run off travelers' horses, and we 
are too strong for any common stealing gang. Such a lot of 
mules, though, and them dragoon-horses would be mighty tempt- 
ing, and if there is a good many of 'em, they'll run some risk, 
if they've seen us, to get 'em. It's always just as well, anyhow, 
to be ready, tho' I don't reckon there's any particular danger." 

The night was truly gorgeous. The Germans have a saying 
that the sky seems nearer in Texas than in Europe. The stars, 
and especially the nebulse, do seem to shine more vividly, and to 
give more light, and the firmament appears more effulgent than 
in any part of the northern or southern hemisphere in which I 
have been. The air was nearly calm, but elastic, and of an 
agreeable temperature. It is difficult to express the delicious 
freshness of the gentle breeze that flows across your cheek, upon 
such an open pillow. I slept littie, but have seldom enjoyed a 
more pleasant or refreshing night's rest. Daylight arrived with- 
out our having been disturbed by anything more formidable than 
a mouse, or something like it, which found its way under my 
blanket, and for a moment startled me by rubbing against my 
throat. 

SNAKES, INSECTS, AND GAME. 

Before sunrise we had breakfasted, and were again in the sad- 
dle. Just after we had started, we met on the road, and killed, the 
largest rattlesnake I have ever seen ; it was only five and a half 



A TRIP OVER. THE FRONTIER. 309 

feet long, but veiy thick, and carried thirteen rattles. When the 
soldiers overtook us, they said they had just killed a larger one. 
We saw several others, and their tracks crossing the road were 
very frequent. Woodland told us that they disliked to go into 
the wet grass, and it was for that reason we saw them so much 
on the edge of the dry road, while the dew stood on the leaves in 
the morning. In grassy land, at this time of day, they were 
generally hanging in bushes ; this we also observed. On this 
account he always chose the heaviest grass to spread his blanket 
on for the night. He had several times been told that rattle- 
snakes had crept within the blanket of persons in the same camp 
with himself — it was supposed to enjoy the warmth of their 
bodies — but he had never been an eye-witness of it, nor 
had he ever heard of a man's having been bitten on these oc- 
casions. 

These were almost the first venomous snakes we had seen. 
But the torpid season was now over, and from this time forth 
they were so common as hardly to excite an exclamation, 
especially here, beyond the settlements, where they were ten- 
fold numerous. Among them, the rattlesnake stands at the 
head ; but as it cannot strike without coiling, and w 7 ill not coil 
without rattling, it is, in reality, less dangerous than some 
others. In the settled parts of Texas it is common, but scarcely 
more so than in all the southern and western states. Its rattle 
is a piercing noise, like that of an August grasshopper, and can- 
not be mistaken. We had testimony in Eastern Texas of the 
power of charming said to reside in these reptiles, from Mr. Stra- 
ther, on the Sabine, who had seen, while hunting in Alabama, 
"a well-marked case." Coming from a little swamp, he heard a 
bird, upon a tree-trunk before him, in an unusual flutter ; and, 



310 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

stopping to examine the cause, saw a huge rattlesnake coiled, 
with open mouth, at the foot of the tree, towards which the bird, 
in convulsions of fright, slowly descended. Keeping perfect 
quiet, he saw it gradually come within reach of the jaws, when it 
was seized with a jerk, and slowly swallowed. 

I share, with many of mankind, a peculiar dread of serpents — 
and when on our return across this wilderness my horse stepped 
in the road close upon a huge specimen of this species, who 
struck, but fortunately did not wound him, I almost fell faint 
from the saddle. The Texan settlers seemed to care very little 
anywhere for snakes ; and, indeed, they are perfectly right in 
ignoring them, as fatal accidents are so extremely rare. The 
physicians in San Antonio corroborated the general declaration 
on this point. We saw one patient who had been struck by a 
water-snake, in collecting " tula," for thatch, from the river edge. 
He was in a fair way, after three weeks' treatment, to lose an 
arm by erysipelatous sloughing and necrosis of the bones of the 
fore-arm, but no danger to life was apprehended. From what 
we could learn, more than one-half the accidents were followed 
by no consequences whatever, and a very small percentage, only, 
proved fatal. The immediate remedies were, for the profession, 
ammonia ; for the people, whisky. A medical man from Illinois 
told us of a patient to whom he was called, " a lady, who was 
going out barefoot to milk, and was struck in the ankle, while 
letting down the bars," who instantly returned to the house and 
drank a pint of whisky. He contented himself with awaiting the 
result, and found the antidote real. 

The principal venomous snakes of Texas, besides the rattle- 
snake, are the land and water moccasins, cotton-heads, coach- 
whips, and copper-heads. We saw none of these, however, in a 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 311 

six" months' journey, with the exception of the moccasins, so that 
they must be comparatively rare, and little to he dreaded. With 
the moccasins we became very familiar, in traversing the coast 
region of the eastern part of the state, one or two of the black 
water-moccasins showing themselves in every pool we entered, 
even twenty times a day. My acquaintance with the land variety 
originated a w r eek or two before this, in returning from the moun- 
tains. I was creeping up to get within shot of a deer (a useless 
labor, I need not confess), when I suddenly dropped my eyes 
upon one of these creatures, about five feet before me, and in my 
direct path. I drew back aghast, for he did look like a devil in- 
carnate, to be sure. He lay coiled, with a short, thick black 
body, a huge head, a wide-open, flame-colored mouth, long fangs, 
and a forked tongue, dancing about in ecstasy of malice. It was 
a moment or two before I recovered my discretion, which, I ac- 
quiesced, in such a case, was the better part of valor. The day 
before, one of the Sisterdale gentlemen had described these crea- 
tures to me, while bathing, and had recommended me to be care- 
ful in entering the water. 

He had seen a calf, on putting his nose to the creek to drink, 
struck by one of these moccasins. His head immediately swelled 
to an enormous size, and convulsive movements followed, which 
terminated in death, in less than ten minutes.* 

The variety of harmless snakes is considerable, but the only 

* Bartlett (Narrative h\, 342) mentions the death of a horse, from the bite of 
a rattlesnake, three days before. 

From the Staats Zeitung, San Antonio, 7th July, 1856 : — " Mr. Gessler was 
yesterday bitten by a moccasin-snake, while bathing in the Salado. He had 
shot the snake and cut him in two , when the forward part suddenly jumped 
towards him, and struck his leg, as mentioned above, Gessler at once rode into 
town and put himself in charge of a physician. The wound was cupped, and 
hitherto no consequences have followed." 



312 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

one with which we became familiar was the egg-snake, before 
mentioned. 

As to the peculiar venomous insects of Texas, we saw not one 
of the family out of scientific collections. The tarantula was 
described as simply a very rare huge black spider, whose bite 
is poisonous, in different degrees, to different individuals. 
The scorpion is a minute flattened, crawling lobster, perhaps 
half an inch long. Its sting is painful, but not dangerous, 
occasioning a suffering like that of the hornet. The most for- 
midable insect is the centipede, whose crawl is said to be poison- 
ous, when interrupted, leaving upon the body or limb it is tra- 
versing an intensely-painful inflamed track. Prostration and 
great nervous agitation follow. For all these, ammonia, if 
instantly applied, is considered an antidote. Should it not be at 
hand or be unsuccessful, the after symptoms are treated according 
to their nature, without empirical remedies. 

Near the Nueces, we saw the first specimen of the "horned 
frog." This singular creature is apparently a sort of lizard, of 
the size, and of somewhat the shape, of an ordinary toad, of a- yel- 
lowish color, having four hard horns sloping backwards upon its 
head, and a series of imbricated horny scales covering the spine. 
It has sharp claws, and does not leap, but runs, with great 
rapidity, along the ground upon its four feet. Its eyes are gentle, 
its movements active, and its whole expression is not repulsive. 
It is not rare in this part of the state, as we saw four or five upon 
this trip, three of which we captured. One of tbem made his 
escape ; the other two were inclosed in a little paste-board box, 
and sent by mail from San Antonio to New York. They sur- 
vived the trip, and came out in good spirits and flesh from their 
narrow quarters. The box chanced to arrive before the latter of 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 313 

introduction, and when it was found to contain, in lieu of jewels, 
certain eccentric tropical reptiles, there was some explosive con- 
sternation. It was at length opened by the aid of tongs, and 
after the letter announcing the innocent nature of the visitors, 
they became household pets. After a month or two of in-doors, 
they began to lose flesh, when they were lariated by a cotton 
twine attached to the leg, and left to their own resources in the 
grass, where they soon recovered their corpulence. One of them 
escaped, and was recaptured a long time after, in high condition, 
by the mowers in a field a half mile away, but subsequently broke 
bonds again, and has not since been heard from. The other was 
presented to a scientific friend. 

Game is abundant in this region. We saw probably fifty deer 
during the forenoon, and rabbits, hares (mule-rabbits), and quails, 
almost momentarily. We also saw one small herd of antelope 
and one wolf. A bird, which we had seen twice before — at San 
Antonio and near Dhanis — about the size of our robin, with a 
long forked tail, like a pair of paper shears half opened, w 7 as here 
frequent along the road — (muscicapa forficata f) * We had heard 
it called the tailor-bird ; but Woodland said it was known among 
the rangers as the bird of paradise. If it belong to this particu- 
lar district, it must have been so denominated in irony ; for a more 
dreary country, of equal extent, I never saw. 

THE COUNTRY.— NIGGER HUNTING. 

The surface is rolling, like the prairie country, but the soil is 
generally gravelly, arid, and sterile, and everywhere covered with 
the same dwarf forest of prickly shrubs. 

In riding sixty miles, we encountered but two men ; they were on 

the road, mounted and armed, and met us with the abrupt inquiry ; 
14 



314 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Seen any niggers V 9 

(We, unitedly,) " No." 

This was all our conversation. " Nigger-hunting — poor busi- 
ness," some one observed, as we separated, and they were 
directly lost in the bushes. " Poor business," I repeated, inquir- 
ingly. " Yes ; it's more trouble to get the money, after you've 
jugged 'em, than it's worth." 

The nearer we approached the great river which now forms the 
admirable boundary line between the states and Mexico, the 
more dreary, desolate, dry, and barren became the scene ; the 
more dwarfed and thorny the vegetation — only the cactus more 
hideously large. Within six miles of the Rio Grande the surface 
of the ground surges higher, forming rugged hills, easy of ascent 
on one side, but precipitous on the other. 

FORT DUNCAN. 

As we ride round the foot of one of these abrupt declivities, 
there is a sudden flash of light from the tin roofs of a cluster of 
military store-houses. The American ensign floats over them, 
and, through the openings of the bright green foliage of a mes- 
quit grove, by which they are surrounded, we soon perceive rows 
and blocks of white tents, and brown thatched sheds and cabins, 
and a broad flat surface of green turf, with here and there a blue 
dot, and a twinkling musket ; directly we hear the notes of a 
bugle. There is a fork in the road, and the ambulance takes the 
road to the military post. It is Fort Duncan — badly placed, in a 
military point of view, being commanded from the hills in the rear, 
but in other respects admirably situated upon a broad and elevated 
plateau, on the bank of the Rio Grande. On the opposite bank we 
see the wretched-looking Mexican town of Piedras Negras, and 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 315 

beyond it another dreary, hilly desert. Nearer, to the right, over 
the top of a low hill, are some roofs, towards which we are 
guided, with somewhat pleasant, though indefinite anticipations, 
derived from a rose-colored little book, describing a residence 
here, by a lady, who has since obtained the reputation of a diplo- 
matist : " Eagle Pass ; by Cora Montgomery." She was a bride, 
and her husband, General Cazneau, was engaged in a promising 
land-speculation, at the time she made her observations. Per- 
haps, if we had known this, we should have been a little less disap- 
pointed, than I must confess we were, when we reached the place. 

EAGLE PASS. 

First, as we rode up the hill, there were half a dozen tottering 
shanties, mere confused piles of poles, brush-wood, and rushes, 
with hides hung over the apertures for doors ; broken cart-wheels, 
yokes, and other rubbish lay about them ; fowls had their nests 
in the loose thatch, and swine were sleeping in holes they had 
rooted out on the shady sides. A single woman's garment, 
long since dry, hung fluttering upon a hide -rope, but no other 
sign of a human being appeared. Then there were two or three 
adobe houses, looking like long, two-story sepulchres, but which 
Woodland said were stores ; and then, as we rode over the brow 
of the hill, and there appeared only a few low huts beyond, and 
still no living man, I asked our guide where was the town. This 
was it, he said. And where were the people? He supposed 
they were all gone to sleep, after dinner. " Hallo !" he shouted, 
pulling up before the open door of a large mud- walled cabin, 
within which, standing upon an earth floor, we could see a hand- 
some billiard-table. "Hallo!" A good-natured looking man 
came yawning to the door. " Why ! where are all the people 
gone to, here V 9 



316 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" To the berrin' — reckon." 

"Buryin"? who's dead?" 

" Ole Barrels." 

" When did he go V 9 

" Last night." 

"What killed him V 

" Whisky." 

"Well, I reckoned that was it." 

Adjoining the billiard-house is another hut, with a yard in- 
closed by a stake-fence. The good-natured man — who has a 
fixed smile on his face — unlocks a gate in the fence, and we ride 
in, and fasten our horses to a tree, which has chains with pad- 
locks, so they can be locked to it, and then take our saddles into 
the hut. 

" See any niggers 1" 

" No." 

" Two got across last night, and one took. You goin' 
across?" 

"Yes." 

"To-night?" 

"No." 

" These gentlemen want a bed — there's one in t'other room; 
I don't want it." 

" Where do you sleep ?" 

" Out here on the ground. I don't like the bed, 'count of 
fleas." 

The room into which we have taken our saddles and bags is 
a bar-room ; the other contains a bed, upon a strong New York 
made bedstead, such as we see at our most fashionable hotels, a 
stove, a barrel of whisky, a box of candles, some sacks of cof- 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 317 

fee, a trunk, a pack-saddle, a pair of boots, with spurs on, a 
revolver, a dirk-knife, and a Journal of Commerce, Here we are 
left while Woodland goes out to see if he cannot get a dinner 
cooked for us. 

"Eagle Pass is not so large a place as I had supposed," I 
observe to the barkeeper ; " I thought there was considerable 
business done here." 

" There is considerable for a place of its size." 

" Why, there are no people living here except at the Fort, 
are there?" 

" Yes, there's about twenty-five white folks, I believe. It 
don't cost much to set a man up in business here : three men 
will build a doby house in three days, roof and all ; then all 
you need to be set up in business is a few boards to make a 
counter and some shelves, and some fancy bottles to put on 
the shelves, and red paint and gilt paper to set it off, a box 
of tobacco, and a single demijohn of good whisky, for them 
that's a judge of it, to start ivith, and a barrel of rot-gut to 
keep 'em going when they get tight and for common custom- 
ers. A barrel of raw whisky goes a long way with these 
soldiers. A man can make a right good start for a fortune with 
it." 

" Do you own this establishment ?" 

" Me ! No, I'm only 'tendin' bar for the man that owns it. 
He's gone off for a day or two." 

" What do all the people live by, here V 9 

16 Selling liquor and gambling. There's nine groceries and 
five gamblin' saloons." 

"But who is there for them to deal with?" 

" Soldiers, of course." 



318 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" But are there not several merchants here who do a respecta- 
ble business V 

" Oh, yes, there's two or three smuggles considerable goods 
over into Mexico." 

"Do the Mexicans come across here to trade V 9 

" Any of them that ever gets any money comes here to spend 
it." 

We were taken to dine at a small hovel, on the floor of which 
our dinner was "being cooked, the smoke escaping by the door- 
way through which we entered. We had a good dinner, of roast 
kid, eggs scrambled with sausage meat, and vegetables, which 
was very neatly served by ,a pretty, saddened, lady-like, dark- 
colored woman, who spoke to us in English perfectly, but ad- 
dressed her children in Spanish. I asked Woodland, while she 
had stepped out for a moment, if she were a Mexican. 

" Oh, no, she's a mulatto, and was born in Louisiana. Colo- 
nel is her father ; he gave her her freedom. Mr. , 

one of the merchants here, lives with her. These are his chil- 
dren, I suppose, though they are rather dark for quadroons. 
She keeps a kind of a boarding-house for the clerks here, and 
she's the best cook on the Eio Grande." 

After we had dined, and fed and w T atered our horses, Wood- 
land said there would be no use in our crossing the river yet, 
for at this time of day the Mexican commandant would be 
asleep, and would not be disturbed for us ; he would, therefore, 
go to the funeral, if we did not want him. We occupied the 
time in writing. When he returned, he said it had been the 
most respectable funeral he ever saw on the Rio Grande. 

"Was there a sermon preached?" I asked, thinking the chap- 
lain of the post probably officiated. 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 319 

" Oh, no, there ain't no parson here ; there weren't no ceremo- 
nies, but they had a coffin fixed up for him ; first time I ever 
saw a coffin out in this country." 

PIEDRAS NEGRAS. 

At five o'clock, we proceeded to cross the river, in order to 
call on the commandant. The Eio Grande here is a rapid tur- 
bid stream, not fordable with safety by a stranger at ordinary 
stages of the water. On the United States side is a "bottom," 
or sand-bar, three or four hundred yards wide, which is covered in 
freshets ; on the Mexican side there is an abrupt high bank, shelv- 
ing and sandy, forty or fifty feet high, with a narrow beach below 
it. A Mexican ferried us across in a skiff — several of which were 
waiting for passengers — for a dime apiece. On the beach were 
nearly twenty women and girls washing clothes. One man, 
dressed in a red shirt and blue trowsers, reclined in the shade 
of a broad-brimmed, stiff, black hat, on a blanket, spread upon the 
ground, smoking a cigarito. His eye turned sleepily towards 
us as we passed up the bank, but he did not address us. Wood- 
land said he was a Mexican corporal, and was then standing 
guard over the landing. 

The town is regularly laid out, with streets crossing at right 
angles, and is compactly built. I cannot say much for the 
style of the houses. Those we first passed were made by dig- 
ging into the bank, as if for a cellar, with one end open upon 
the road, covering the top first with brush-wood and rushes, and 
then with sand or clay to the depth of a foot or more, and clos- 
ing in the front by poles set upright, closely together, the in 
terstices made tight with clay. They had no windows, and a 
hide hung over the doorway. Most of the houses are made of 



320 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

poles and mud, with, thatched roofs ; but in the principal busi- 
ness streets, as well as in the aristocratic quarter, there are 
several adobe houses, of one story. It seemed we had not 
waited long enough, for in the open doors we frequently saw 
men and women lying asleep on the floor or in beds, and it was 
not till we had passed several blocks that we approached any 
one in the streets. Five men wrapped in serapes sat upon the 
ground, at a corner, smoking. They looked at us as we came 
up, but did not move out of our w r ay, or in the slightest degree 
alter the unpleasantly scrutinizing expression of their faces when 
we stopped in their midst, until Woodland asked them in Span- 
ish the way to the capitan's house. Instantly, like an opera 
chorus, they all rose and saluted us gracefully and kindly, before 
replying, which they then did, by directing us with an easy, dig- 
nified gesture. 

In the rear of the town is a considerable square of open 
ground — not but that there is limitless open ground in this direc- 
tion, but this particular part of it is surrounded on three sides by 
streets, and on two sides is built upon. It is, doubtless, destined 
to be a grand plaza, when the town shall have quadrupled its 
present population. It is now pastured by goats and swine, and 
has no imposing effect, except at one end, where are two edifices 
of adobes, of noticeable magnitude. In front of one of them is 
a stroug wooden frame-work, sustaining three small bells ; in 
front of the other is a singular piece of artillery. It consists of 
an old old-fashioned sulky, an ammunition-chest placed upon the 
springs in place of a seat, and, bolted to the lid of the chest, the 
muzzles elevated by^the depression of the shafts, a large, iron, 
double-barreled blunderbuss. The first of the two edifices is 
the church ; the latter the town-hall, and residence of Sr. Don 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 321 

******** #*#* **** **** **** **** ****** ac+inp- alcalde of the 
loyal town of Piedras Negras, and captain commanding the local 
forces of the Kepublic of Mexico. 

AN ALCALDE. 

After knocking several times at the door, it was unbolted, and 
a dark-complexioned, thin young man, with an anxious, troubled, 
and ill-natured expression, as if he suffered under a continual 
conviction of the entire depravity of the human race, and was 
always prepared for treachery, opened it sufficiently to examine 
us and confer with us. The captain was not yet wakened from 
his siesta, but after a lengthened parley he permitted us to enter, 
observing all the time a cautiously non-committal formality and 
politeness. The room into which we were admitted was some 
thirty feet long, fifteen broad, and as many high, the ceiling being 
formed by the flat ridge-and-furrow roof itself. The floor was 
of hard-trodden earth. The adobe walls were whitewashed, 
and broken only by three doors ; one, the entrance from the 
street, another opposite, opening into a rear court, and a third, 
at one end, leading to another apartment. Two sides of the 
room and the end opposite the door were furnished with a plank 
bench, behind which a piece of printed calico was tacked to the 
wall ; at the end of the room, the bench was covered with red- 
stuff, and some mats were laid before it. We here seated our- 
selves, and waited for the capitan. 

At length he came — white-haired, wrinkled, keen, but kind- 
eyed, thin, tall ; wearing no coat ; a vest, nearly w T orn out, and 
very much too small ; a dirty shirt, comfortably thrown open at 
the neck ; quiet, self-possessed, gentlemanly and good-natured 

in his manner, and with a soft and winning voice. 
14* 



322 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We told him, that being about to make a short trip into 
Mexico, we had called on him to pay our respects, and at the 
same time offered him an informal passport, we had obtained of 
the Mexican consul at New York. He called the young man 
who had received us at the door, and asked him to read the pass- 
port, and then told us he was glad we had taken this precaution, 
for such was the state of the country, he should otherwise have 
been under the painful necessity to deny us permission to travel 
in it. He then inquired by what route we had come from New 
York; and on our mentioning Nachitoches, in Louisiana, he 
asked, with interest, how that town now appeared, and what was 
its present population. Thirty years ago, he informed us, he was 
a lieutenant in the Spanish garrison there. 

After half an hour's conversation, Woodland being our inter- 
preter, he conducted us into the adjoining room. It was less 
than half the size of the first, and had a projecting window, not 
glazed, but strongly barred. Six beds, with patch-work coverlids, 
more or less highly ornamented, were set around the sides of the 
room, which also contained several packing-boxes, doing duty as 
wardrobes, and a table with writing materials. 

Following his example, we reclined upon the beds, while his 
clerk made a lengthened examination of us, and recorded our 
age, birth-place, residence, occupation or profession, state (mar- 
ried or single), religion, our purpose in visiting Mexico, the route 
we proposed to follow, our proposed destination, the time we 
expected to spend in the country, a minute description of our 
persons, etc., to a copy of which we were requested to append 
our signatures. The original was then given to us, on payment 
of the very moderate fee of twelve-and-a-half cents ; and we were 
told that one copy of it would be retained in the capitan's official 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 323 

bureau (which appeared to be a small box, distinctly labeled, 
"Colgate's Pearl Starch — New York"), and that the other 
would be sent to the city of Mexico. Woodland told us, that a 
few weeks before, he had called with a gentleman who had been 
obliged to pay three dollars apiece for the passport of every 
man in his company. 

RUNAWAY SLAVES IN MEXICO. 

Eeturning through the town, we found the awakened people 
lounging outside their doors, chatting cheerfully, laughing, and 
singing a great deal, nearly all smoking, and the softer portion 
affectionately searching under each other's long, luxuriant, and 
glossy, but coarse, black hair, for — something which they were 
constantly finding, and dispatching with their thumb-nails. 

Very few persons were moving in the streets, or engaged in any 
kind of labor — for this searching exercise comes under the head 
of sport, I suppose. As we turned a corner near the bank, we 
came suddenly upon two negroes, as they were crossing the street. 
One of them was startled, and looking ashamed and confounded, 
turned hesitatingly back and walked away from us ; whereat some 
Mexican children laughed, and the other negro, looking at us, 
grinned impudently— expressing plainly enough — "I am not 
afraid of you." He touched his hat, however, when I nodded to 
him, and then, putting his hands in his pockets, as if he hadn't 
meant to, stepped up on one of the sand-bank caverns, whistling. 
Thither, wishing to have some conversation with him, I followed. 
He very civilly informed me, in answer to inquiries, that he 
was born in Virginia, and had been brought South by a trader 
and sold to a gentleman who had brought him to Texas, from 
whom he had run away four or five years ago. He would like 



324 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

right well to see old Virginia again, that he would — if he could 
he free. He was a mechanic, and could earn a dollar very easily, 
by his trade, every day. He could speak Spanish fluently, and 
had traveled extensively in Mexico, sometimes on his own busi- 
ness, and sometimes as a servant or muleteer. Once he had been 
beyond Durango, or nearly to the Pacific ; and, northward, to 
Chihuahua, and he professed to be competent, as a guide, to any 
part of Northern Mexico. He had joined the Catholic True 
Church, he said, and he was very well satisfied with the country. 
Kunaways were constantly arriving here ; two had got over, as 
I had previously been informed, the night before. He could not 
guess how many came in a year, but he could count forty, that 
he had known of, in the last three months. At other points, fur- 
ther down the river, a great many more came than here. He 
supposed a good many got lost and starved to death, or were 
killed on the way, between the settlements and the river. Most 
of them brought with them money, which they had earned and 
hoarded for the purpose, or some small articles which they had 
stolen from their masters. They had never been used to taking 
care of themselves, and when they first got here they were so 
excited with being free, and with being made so much of by these 
Mexican women, that they spent all they brought very soon ; 
generally they gave it all away to the women, and in a short 
time they had nothing to live upon, and, not knowing the language 
of the country, they wouldn't find any work to do, and often they 
were very poor and miserable. But, after they had learned the 
language, which did not generally take them long, if they chose 
to be industrious, they could live very comfortably. Wages 
were low, but they had all they earned for their own, and a man's 
living did not cost him much here. Colored men, who were in- 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 325 

ddstrious and saving, always did well ; they could make money 
faster than Mexicans themselves could, because they had more sense. 
The Mexican Government was very just to them, they could 
always have their rights as fully protected as if they were Mexi- 
cans born. He mentioned to me several negroes whom he had 
seen, in different parts of the country, who had acquired wealth, 
and positions of honor. Some of them had connected themselves, 
by marriage, with rich old Spanish families, who thought as much 
of themselves as the best white people in Virginia. In fact, a 
colored man, if he could behave himself decently, had rather an 
advantage over a white American, he thought. The people 
generally liked them better. These Texas folks were too rough to 
suit them. 

I believe these statements to have been pretty nearly true ; he 
had no object, that I could discover, to exaggerate the facts either 
way, and showed no feeling except a little resentment towards 
the women, who probably wheedled him out of his earnings. 
They were confirmed, also, in all essential particulars, by every 
foreigner I saw, who had lived or traveled in this part of Mexico, 
as well as by Mexicans themselves, with whom I was able to 
converse on the subject. It is repeated as a standing joke — I 
suppose I have heard it fifty times in the Texas taverns, and 
always to the great amusement of the company — that a nigger in 
Mexico is just as good as a white man, and if you don't treat him 
civilly he will have you hauled up and fined by an alcalde. The 
poor yellow-faced, priest-ridden heathen, actually hold, in earnest, 
the ideas on this subject put forth in that good old joke of our 
fathers — the Declaration of American Independence. 

The runaways are generally reported to be very poor and 
miserable, which, it is natural to suppose, they must be. Yet 



326 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

there is something a little strange about this. It is those that 
remain near the frontier that suffer most ; they who have got far 
into the interior are said to be almost invariably doing passably 
well. A gang of runaways, who are not generally able to speak 
Spanish, have settled together within a few days' walk of Eagle 
Pass, and I have heard them spoken of as being in a more desti- 
tute and wretched condition than any others. Let any one of 
them present himself at Eagle Pass, and he would be greedily 
snatched up by the first American that he would meet, and re- 
stored, at once, to his old comfortable, careless life. The escape 
from the wretchedness of freedom is certainly much easier to the 
negro in Mexico than has been his previous flight from slavery, 
yet I did not hear of a single case of his availing himself of this 
advantage. If it ever occur, it must be as one to a thousand of 
those going the other way. 

Dr. Stillman (Letters to tlie Crayon, 1856) notices having seen 
at Fort Inge a powerful and manly-looking mulatto, in the 
hands of a returning party of last year's filibustering expedi- 
tion, who had been three times brought from beyond the Eio 
Grande. Once, when seized, his cries awoke his Mexican neigh- 
bors, and the captor had to run for it. Once, after having been 
captured, and when the claim to him had been sold for fifty dol - 
lars, he escaped with a horse and a six-shooter. Once, again, 
he escaped from the field where his temporary holder had set 
him at work on the Leona. In revenge for this carelessness, a 
suit was then pending for these temporary services. 

The impulse must be a strong one, the tyranny extremely 
cruel, the irksomeness of slavery keenly irritating, or the long- 
ing for liberty much greater than is usually attributed to the 
African race, which induces a slave to attempt an escape to Mexi- 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 327 

co. The masters take care, when negroes are brought into 
Western Texas, that they are informed (certainly never with any 
reservation, and sometimes, as I have had personal evidence, 
with amusing extravagance) of the dangers and difficulties to be 
encountered by a runaw r ay. 

There is a permanent reward offered by the state for their 
recovery, and a considerable number of men make a business of 
hunting them. Most of the frontier rangers are ready at any 
time to make a couple of hundred dollars, by taking them up, if 
they come in their way. If so taken, they are severely punished, 
though if they return voluntarily they are commonly pardoned. 
If they escape immediate capture by dogs or men, there is then 
the great dry desert country to be crossed, with the danger of 
falling in with savages, or of being attacked by panthers or 
wolves, or of being bitten or stung by the numerous reptiles that 
abound in it ; of drowning miserably at the last of the fords ; in 
winter, of freezing in a norther, and, at ail seasons, of famishing 
in the wilderness from the want of means to procure food. 

Brave negro ! say I. He faces all that is terrible to man for 
the chance of liberty, from hunger and thirst to every nasty 
form of four-footed and two-footed- devil. I fear I should my- 
self suffer the last servile indignities before setting foot in such 
a net of concentrated torture. I pity the man whose sympathies 
would not warm to a dog under these odds. How can they be 
held back from the slave who is driven to assert his claim to 
manhood % 

GERMANS AND RUNAWAYS. 

The fugitive fears to make a fire lest it should draw attention 
to his lurking-place. During the day, he ascends a tree or hides 
silent in a thicket. At night he often follows the roads upon 



328 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

any horse he can lay his hands upon, regardless of ownership. 
Negro cabins he generally approaches with confidence, and in 
the hovels of the Mexicans, while he is in the settled country, 
he often obtains food and shelter. Any man who harbors a 
negro in Texas is liable to fine and long imprisonment. 

Most of the Germans, I presume, would refuse to take in a 
negro whom they knew to be running away. Once, however, I 
happened to learn that a poor, ignorant, Eoman Catholic emi- 
grant, happening to find a half-starved fugitive, when looking 
after his cattle, melted in compassion, took pains to prevail upon 
him to come to his cabin, bound up his wounds, clothed him, 
gave him food and whisky, and set him rejoicing on his way 
again. 

I could not but take off my cap in involuntary respect for the 
man when told of this, knowing he would be shamefully pun- 
ished, legally or illegally, if he were even suspected of such a 
thing, by his American neighbors. 

" That German must be a Judas who would do aught to hin- 
der a man who was fleeing toward liberty !" was the reply of 
my informant. 

But a runaway slave is a lawless and, usually, a very mischiev- 
ous and desperate man, and with a knowledge of the small 
chance of his eventual escape, and the dangers of all kinds 
which beset his flight, I have always heard the Germans, even 
those who most detested slavery, speak of a negro's running 
away with pain and regret. The slaveholders, who have the 
least acquaintance with Germans, knowing their sympathy with 
the slaves, are very much afraid to have them settle near their 
plantations ; but, as far as I can judge, their apprehensions are 
without good foundation. A German was brutally treated by a 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 329 

company of ruffians, while we were in Texas, from a suspicion, 
which afterwards failed to be sustained in a slaveholder's court 
of justice, that he had incited a negro to escape. I did not hear 
a single well-defined charge of this kind, though it was repeat- 
edly vaguely made against the Germans in general. On the 
other hand, to the credit of the Germans, I must say, I heard 
of only one of them ever having claimed a reward for returning 
a runaway. 

There are a few Jew-Germans in Texas, and, in Texas, the 
Jews, as everywhere else, speculate in everything — in popular 
sympathies, prejudices, and bigotries, in politics, in slavery. 
Some of them own slaves, others sell them on commission, and 
others have captured and returned fugitives. Judging by seve- 
ral anecdotes I heard of them, they do not appear to have made 
as much by it as by most of their operations. 

A MAIL BEHIND TIME. 

A little fellow was pointed out to me, who, a few years ago, 
was the mail-carrier between San Antonio and Eagle Pass, and 
who met with two or three amusing adventures in attempting to 
arrest and bring in fugitives. Once, in coming from Eagle Pass 
in the night, he saw upon the road before him two negroes — 
runaways, of course. He was driving a sulky, and they proba- 
bly mistook it for a Mexican cart until it was close upon them, 
and it was too late to dodge into the chaparral. He presented 
his revolver, when both stopped, rather than* take the chance of 
a shot. Ordering them to come back to the road, and to stand 
at some distance apart, with their backs towards each other, he 
took a piece of rope, which he carrried for the purpose, and got 
down from the sulky, with the intention of pinioning them. 



330 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Going behind one of them, lie laid the revolver upon the ground, 
that his hands might be free to lash his captive's elbows behind 
him. He had no sooner done so, than the negro turned and 
grappled him, while the other ran up, and, snatching the revolver, 
put the muzzle to his head. He begged them to spare his life ; 
they threw him upon the ground, bound him with his own rope, 
j Limped into the sulky, and drove off rapidly towards Mexico. 

Another Jew is said to have sold himself at a particularly cheap 
rate. He was returning from Mexico, with the proceeds of a jewelry 
peddling excursion in Spanish dollars. On the banks of a stream, 
he observed the foot-prints of a man, and upon further examination 
saw where he had put on a pair of heavy, much-worn shoes. The 
trail was fresh, and evidently that of a fugitive by night, as the 
tracks kept on in a direct course, not turning out for puddles, or 
picking the smoothest of the road. It was yet early in the day, 
and the runaway was probably lying not far distant. He pro- 
posed to his companion to hunt for him ; if they should catch 
him, they could drive him along before them to San Antonio, 
and get a hundred dollars apiece, very easily. His companion, 
however, having no inclination to engage in this sort of sport, 
plead urgent business as a reason for declining, and continued 
on his way. The Jew determined to run his own hazard, and 
secure the whole reward. The trail soon left the road, and he 
followed it cautiously, to an overgrown gully, where he found his 
fugitive, overcome with sleep. The poor wretch yielded without 
a word, only begging for something to eat. But the Jew was 
too wise not to keep the muscular advantage he had over a 
negro faint and sick with hunger, and tying his hands behind 
him, drove him before him to the road. The prostration of the 
poor fellow was so extreme, however, that the task of driving 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 331 

him in to settlements would be tedious ; and, after a short dis- 
tance, the Jew mounted his feeble prize behind him, joining his 
ankles firmly together by a handkerchief, beneath the mule's belly. 
For a time, all went well — the Jew. vigilant and merry, revolver 
in hand. But there came the Nueces to cross ; the mule would 
drink ; the bridle goes loose ; the spark of liberty suddenly kin- 
dles, and headlong, over the mule's head, goes Jew, revolver, and 
all, floundering under the feet of the frightened animal. Up the 
bank goes a stampede of mule and crouching runaway, securely 
tied together, the bags of dollars and provision not even left to 
the dripping speculator. The Jew is the only one of the party 
that has ever again been heard from. 

PLANS OF SLAVEHOLDERS. 

The loss and annoyance from this running of slaves to Mexico 
has been so great, in Central and Western Texas, as to lead to 
many propositions having in view the means of an effectual stop 
to its continuance. Several conventions and public meetings 
have been held, to devise and carry out such measures. Among 
other plans, it is proposed that a body of one hundred rangers 
be organized, to be equipped at the expense of those interested, 
and stationed upon the Rio Grande, for the purpose of awing or 
catching the runaways. 

Another plan put forward in the newspapers is, "that the 
slaveholders west of the Colorado organize a mutual insurance 
company, each one paying a per cent, upon each negro he may 
own, for the purpose of raising a fund, and that the company 
offer a standing reward for each slave caught, of a sufficient 
amount ($500 has been proposed) to induce men to incur the 
fatigue and risk attending the pursuit of fugitives." The editor 



332 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

of the San Antonio Ledger remarks : " If such a plan is adopted, 
the number of escapes will certainly decrease. The reward that 
is generally offered, over and above what is allowed by law, is 
but a poor inducement for men to ride several days and nights 
in pursuit of fugitives, risking their lives, and ruining their 
horses. But if there is a certainty of recovering one-half the 
price of each negro caught, the inducement would be sufficient to 
insure the arrest of fugitives, if within the limits of possibility. 
And if negroes are once assured that their chance is almost hope- 
less, and that they will be pursued to the very limits of the state, 
and even beyond, if such a thing can be done, they will be less apt 
to attempt escaping. And in case fugitives are killed in attempt- 
ing resistance, the reward should be the same. This plan, if 
adopted, will do much toward preventing the escape of fugitive 
slaves. One thing is certain, unless something be done to arrest 
the escape of slaves, this class of property will become valueless 
in Western Texas. As yet, but few of those escaping have' 
been caught." 

In the same paper is the following item of local news : " On 
last Thursday night, two of Major Dashiell's negroes got into a 
dispute, when one seized a large cedar club, with which he killed 
the other instantly. He then left. The next night he returned, 
took one of the Major's best horses, and started for Mexico. At 
Dunn's rancho, a Mexican attempted to arrest the fugitive, when 
he drew a knife and made at the Mexican, who shot him. This 
is the third negro Major Dashiell has lost in a short time — one 
running away, and two killed." 

The plan of mutual insurance is certainly that which would 
commend itself to adoption, in similar circumstances, in other 
parts of the world ; but, such is the reluctance of a southern-born 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 333 

man to be taxed, for a mutual benefit, that it will probably never 
get in operation. He instinctively prefers to gamble with his 
own risks, and would find a life not worth living which was sur- 
rounded with recuperative checks and deprived of exciting possi- 
bilities. 

The actual pursuit of slaves over the frontier, mentioned above, 
is, of course, not legally possible, with our present treaty obliga- 
tions. The scheme of separating the Kio Grande states from the 
Mexican Eepublic, and erecting them into the " Kepublic of the 
Sierra Madre," by American aid, given under the promise of the 
immediate passage of a law for the rendition of slaves, has been, 
therefore, a favorite one with the slave-proprietors of the south- 
west. A Texas paper lately told its readers, in so many words, 
that they had " acted like fools" in not having assisted a certain 
neighboring factionist when he attempted, a few years since, a 
revolution of this sort. Isolated foraying invasions along the 
border, with vague intentions in this interest, have been frequent. 
In 1855 a more deliberate plot was laid, and had any respectable 
support, within Mexican boundaries, been found, the project might 
have disclosed itself by a decisive trial. The company of rangers 
under Callahan, which invaded Mexico at Eagle Pass, ostensibly 
for the chastisement of Indians, was, in fact, upon a revolutionary 
reconnaissance. The reception it met gave a quick quietus to the 
scheme. The Mexicans rallied with the Indians — the party was 
driven back, and obliged to be content with a contemptible piece 
of spiteful retaliation, the sacking and burning- of this poor little 
village of Piedras Negras. 

Frontier irregularities of all kinds are of continual occurrence, 
and must be winked at by the law, which has no force, in so 
sparsely settled and distant a border region. Negroes have been 



334 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

many times kidnapped by armed parties from the American side, 
and taken back to slavery. On the other hand, it is said, by the 
author of " Eagle Pass," that peons are constantly forced back 
to bondage in Mexico, and the chief object of her spirited descrip- 
tions was to call public attention to this latter wrong. We made 
particular inquiries, at her point of observation, and were unable 
to find any recent facts to sustain her charges. But one case of 
the return of a peon could we hear of, in which the only force 
used was that of personal remonstrance. No doubt injustice may 
have been done — but not all upon one side — and though I would 
be the last to defend actual delinquencies like those attributed 
to Mr. Webster, I can hardly subscribe to the necessity of putting 
$100,000 at the disposal of the Secretary of War for the purpose 
of deepening the channel of the Kio Grande, as a defense against 
the rapacity of the Mexicans. 

PEON LAW. 

I have often been amused at the horror with which this Mexi- 
can Peon Law is viewed at the South. I have been asked, many 
times, if I did not think it worse than negro slavery. But there 
appears to be nothing in the spirit of the law which is essentially 
unjust. Its object was, probably, a good one, and it was no 
more intended for the benefit of the capitalist than the laborer. 
Its abuses are, no doubt, villainous, and because, as with slavery, 
its abuses are almost sure to occur so constantly as to more than 
compensate its advantages, it should be superseded by a more 
enlightened (not merely a more just) system. There is one pro- 
vision of the law, which is very apt to be forgotten by those who 
use it, as a make- weight in slavery defense, which, if insisted upon 
by the peon debtor, would prevent the greater part of those evils 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 335 

which are said to arise from it. It is this : that the creditor shall 
not furnish the peon goods, to a greater amount in value than 
one half the wages put to his credit; beyond which the law allows 
no indebtedness. A case had lately occurred at San Fernando, 
in which a peon sued his master before the courts, and, making 
him produce his books, proved, that his labor in the service of 
his creditor, at the legally-fixed rate of wages, would more than 
pay his original debt, and for all the goods which the creditor had 
the right to supply to him, and the creditor was actually obliged 
to pay him the balance of wages due, by this rule. True, it is a 
very rare case that this provision is enforced, but the reason for 
this is not the same that prevents the enforcement of laws to pro- 
tect the slave, in our southern system, from gross cruelty — the 
incompetency of the slave to testify — it is only the same as that 
which makes slavery possible at all — the want of sufficient intel 
ligence and manliness. Enlighten the slave and slavery will end 
— enlighten the people and peonage will be almost harmless — in 
no way more unjust or cruel than our old laws imprisoning for 
debt. 

RULES OF THE ROAD IN MEXICO. 

At the conclusion of my conversation with the runaway negro, 
he asked if I were going to San Fernando \ 

Woodland, who had drawn near, immediately answered for 
me — " No" — and told me that a boat was waiting for us. He 
afterwards observed to me, " There are some people that think 
they can't never tell a |je ; such people won't do to travel in 
Mexico. When that black fellow asked you if you was going 
to San Fernando, if you'd told him you were, just as likely as 
not he'd 'a gone out with a gang of greasers on the road, and 
hid in the bushes, and when we came up, popped us off before 



336 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

we could look round at them. I never let on to anybody which 
way I am traveling in Mexico, and I never pay for anything with 
gold. I never let a Mexican ride behind me on the road, and if 
I am in a company where there are Mexicans and Americans 
mixed, I always keep one American back of all the rest. If I 
was going far in the country, I should always hire a Mexican 
fellow to go with me, so I could dress mean, and make him do 
all the business, so I would be thought to be his peon." 

Yet Woodland was not, naturally, by any means, a suspicious 
man. All travelers in Mexico soon learn to take such precau- 
tions against ambuscades and murderous surprises. They would 
have you believe it impossible to estimate highly enough the 
Mexican liability to treachery. 

A CALIFORNIA WIDOW. 

On the beach, a woman, with uncommonly delicate features 
for a Mexican, but a very pitiable expression of pride and deep 
sorrow, was walking to and fro with a young child, which was 
dressed expensively in the American manner. As we passed 
her, she asked us if we had come from California, and, when she 
heard that we had not, walked on without another word or any 
perceptible variation in the fixed sad resistance of her face. As 
we rowed away from her, the scout murmured — 

"I don't see why a marriage by a Catholic priest shouldn't be 
just as binding to a man as any other." 

Neither, of course, did I, and I asked who did. 

He supposed the fellow that was the father of that girl's child 
did not think it was. 

" She wouldn't have anything to do with him unless he'd 
come over on to this side and marry her according to their 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 337 

fashion, and he was so much in love with her he did it. But, 
pretty soon after they were married, he told her he'd got to go 
to California. She tried very hard to keep him here or to make 
him take her with him ; but he made her believe he'd be back in 
a year, and she had to let him go. He's been gone three years, 
now, and I don't suppose she's ever heard a word from him — the 
damn'd rascal !" 

This energetic epithet, spoken in a guttural aside, was the 
only " profanity" the scout was guilty of while in our company. 
He habitually saved his breath by dispensing with such language 
as characterizes the conversation of most frontiersmen, thereby 
adding another advantage to those of being able to travel with- 
out tobacco or spirits. 

BED COMPANIONS. 

When we again reached our quarters, we found them occupied 
by a crowd of drinking and brawling Irish soldiers. A little 
before nine o'clock, however, they returned to the post — those 
the least drunk supporting those the most so — and left us to 
sleep in quietness. 

Sharing in our friend, the barkeeper's, aversion to fleas, we de- 
clined his offer of a bed in the house, and for the greater secu- 
rity of our horses, made our arrangements to sleep near the tree 
to which they were locked. The bed, we soon discovered, did 
not contain all the fleas on the premises. There were other 
creeping .things also, desirous of paying their respects to the 
strangers in the establishment. Once when I had been awakened 
suddenly, and had risen with a shudder, on looking quickly 
where my head had lain, I saw running off, with great agility, a 
dark spider, nearly as large as a mouse. I struck quickly at 

him, but he escaped into some rubbish, and saved his life. It 
15 



338 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

looked enough like a tarantula, if it was not one, to gratify my 
curiosity. 

ACROSS THE RIO GRANDE. 

I was next aroused by the stirring reveille of Fort Duncan, 
and starting up, found that our horses had each eaten low into a 
measure of corn. Woodland had got up and fed them before 
daylight, and then slipped between his blankets again to finish 
his night's rest. We gave them short grooming, took a bath in 
the river, got our breakfast, and, by sunrise, had started upon 
our trip into Mexico. There are many quicksands, holes, and 
eddies in the Kio Grande, which make it dangerous to ford. 
Woodland declined to undertake it, and we employed a Mexican 
to get our horses over, crossing ourselves in a skiff. Notwith- 
standing this danger, I did not hear that any runaways had been 
known to be drowned, although they must always cross at night, 
and without any knowledge of the proper fording places. 

The same sentinel that we had seen before when we landed, 
smoking, and wrapped in his serape, lounged on the beach. As 
we passed him, he turned his eyes upon us, and allowed the 
smoke for a moment to overflow his face, while he inquired if we 
were furnished with passports ; then, trusting our affirmative an- 
swer, he reinserted his cigarito, and slowly closed his eyes, as 
an -intimation that he did not wish to be disturbed by us any 
further, and we proceeded up the bank. 

While waiting for our horses, my colored refugee friend, who 
had talked so confidently of his own^tbility to support himself 
comfortably, the day before, came out of a dram-shop, in which 
were several bright Mexican girls, and asked me if I would not 
lend him quarter of a dollar. I inquired how it happened he 
should be in need, if it was so easy for him to earn his living 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 339 

here. He explained that it was merely a temporary accident ; 
if I would loan it to him he would be able to pay me to-mor- 
row. He was well-dressed, and showed no indication of intem- 
perate habits, and I think that he spoke the truth. Probably 
he meant to treat the girls in the shop. As I had spoken good- 
naturedly to him, and he had given me some information, the 
old slave habit of expecting a gratuity — a " drink-money" — 
returned to him; but, being somewhat modified by the pride of 
a freeman, he requested it in the form, of a loan, rather than beg 
it servilely, though he, doubtless, had no idea that I should see 
him again, to ask payment. I happened not to have any silver 
money with me, and did not give it to him ; but he continued in 
conversation with me, without showing any disappointment. The 
man was " unfit for freedom," as the saying is, evidently enough 
(and where is the man who does not sometimes make a bad use 
of freedom, even under the Maine law, I would like to know ?), 
but I was satisfied, by his manner, that his character had been 
greatly improved by liberty. Even the miserable sort of liberty 
possessed by a laboring man in Mexico is, probably, more 
favorable to the development of manliness, than that nominal 
liberty meanly doled in most of our northern states to the 
African race. 

THE COUNTRY AND THE ROADS. MILITARY COLONIES. 

As soon as we had ridden well out of town, Woodland left the 
traveled road, and led us Ross a range of trackless, bleak, rug- 
ged and barren hills. After we had toiled over them for several 
miles, we descended upon a nearly level chaparral plain, and 
soon afterwards again struck into the road, which had been car- 
ried a roundabout way through the hills, so as to be practicable 



340 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

for wheels. Although the road was commonly used only by 
horsemen and a few Mexican carts ; unlike any Texan road, it 
was laid out three rods wide, cleared of bushes, stumps, and 
stones, and made moderately smooth, like a speculator's street 
through a farm. Here was the first striking evidence that we 
had passed from the dominions of a democratic to those of a 
centralized government. Two years ago, here was only a cart- 
track, such as private individuals had made, almost by chance, 
in carrying goods between San Fernando and Piedras Negras ; 
but then the governor of Coahuila determined to make a tour in 
this part of the state, and orders were sent forward to the alcaldes 
of the towns in his intended route to make smooth the roads, 
and otherwise prepare the way for his coming. Here, therefore, 
were thirty miles or more of a road across a perfect wilderness, 
without one single resident upon it, almost entirely constructed 
for the personal convenience of a provincial magistrate. 

The towns in this part of Mexico were all originally estab- 
lished by colonies under the military protection of the govern- 
ment, and being laid out on nearly the same model, have the 
same general characteristics. The town proper is divided by 
streets, thirty or forty feet wide, into square blocks. These 
blocks have been divided into building-lots of a certain size, and 
distributed to the colonists, to be occupied for residences. To 
each colonist is also given another tract of land for tillage, in the 
outer part of the town. The towns are always placed at such a 
point that water for irrigation can be obtained, and the necessary 
canals for this purpose are made at public expense, and so car- 
ried that the water can be distributed over all the allotments 
when required. Acequias are also made throughout the town, 
so that water for domestic purposes, and for irrigating the 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 341 

kitchen-gardens, is brought conveniently near every man's house. 
Usually these town acequias pass through the centre of each 
block. Though the right of property in these allotments has 
since been variously disturbed by trade, the same divisional 
boundaries and general arrangements continue. With the excep- 
tion of a few very large private estates — the laborers on which 
all live together, in a central, fortification-like village — there is 
no agriculture carried on in the district, except within a circle of 
a mile or two of these towns. This arises from the fact that the 
towns have been placed in the centre of the best tracts of land, 
from the advantages to be obtained by combination for the con- 
struction of the necessary works for irrigation, for security 
against attacks of Indians, and from the very gregarious and 
social character of the people. 

Between these towns, which are from twenty to fifty or more 
miles apart, and the irrigated land in their immediate vicinity, the 
whole of the country we saw in a ride of a hundred miles — except 
the rugged hills which wall in the Kio Grande — is an uninhabited, 
dreary, desolate plain, sometimes as barren and bare as Sahara, 
but generally thickly covered with the same thorny chaparral 
described on the American side of the Eio Grande. The surface 
of the ground is not quite a dead level, but the slopes are imper- 
ceptible, except afar off, and they often rise and fall at the same 
inappreciable inclination for miles without a curve. The land- 
scape is the most monotonous and uninteresting that I have ever 
seen. The only variety is occasioned by " openings'' among the 
bushes, seldom exceeding a few rods in breadth, and in the alter- 
nate predominance of one sort of thorny shrub over another — 
now, for half a mile, there will be none higher than your knee, 
again a taller kind prevails, and you scarcely see over the tops, 



342 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

on horseback. The usual soil is a whitish clay with drifts of 
gravel and pebbles, and, more rarely, a thin, dark, vegetable 
mould. 

During our day's ride of thirty miles, until we approached San 
Fernando, we saw no house, no inclosed or cultivated land, and 
but one herd of cattle or horses. We followed an old acequia for 
many miles, and saw, near it, the appearance of once-cultivated 
fields, through which we could trace, by the brighter green of the 
grass, the course of the minor distributing ditches. Not the 
slightest remains of houses, or barns, or orchards, or fences could 
I find, nor was I able to learn, though I afterwards made inquiry 
of the Mexicans living nearest to the place, when, or by whom 
they had been constructed, or why, or how long since they had 
been given up. I was told that a dry aqueduct, or main acequia, 
passed near here, which a United States officer had followed for 
sixty miles and found to have been constructed with remarkable 
engineering skill. It is not, I presume, necessary to carry con- 
jectures, as to the day of these irrigators, back of the Spanish 
Conquest : probably there have been, at some time, mission-farms 
here, like those of San Antonio. 

These " old fields," as a Carolinian would familiarly call them, 
gave additional melancholy to the cheerless expanse. During 
the ride we met but one man. This was a Mexican, who was 
mounted on a serviceable little horse, and rode with us for seve- 
ral miles. He was extremely polite, but seemed excessively 
stupid or ignorant, and at length dropped behind, as if he could 
not keep up. Perhaps he was a little afraid of us. He had a 
broad deer-skin belt at his waist, lined with cartridges, and sup- 
porting a horse-pistol, and, fastened to his sadddle, with the 
stock at his horse's tail and the muzzle at his head, was a very 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 343 

long musket, in a case of blue cotton stuff. The barrel lay under 
his knee as he rode. He was dressed in a blue jacket and black 
leather trowsers, slashed down the leg; with a thick row of brass 
buttons, and open from the knee, so as to let the white under- 
clothes flow loosely out. He wore on his head a tall, varnished, 
broad-brimmed, peaked black hat. 

SAN FERNANDO. 

A dark mass of lofty trees at length rose refreshingly above 
the distant horizon, and Woodland, pointing to it, said, " there's 
San Fernando." A town is always marked here by a grove of 
fine trees : whether these groves were the original inducements 
which fixed the site of the towns, I do not know. Several weary 
miles were passed before we could distinguish houses among the 
trees, and we were within one mile of them before we met the 
first evidence of human life. This was a forsaken sugar planta- 
tion with an adobe house, set close upon our road. A small, 
rude, wooden cane mill stood behind it. A quarter of a mile 
further, and the road was lined with well-cultivated fields of 
maize, sugar-cane, and sweet potatoes, divided into fields of not 
often more than three acres, by stake fences, and surrounded and 
crossed by acequias. Men and boys were industriously engaged 
in hoeing the crops, and in conducting the water between the 
drills in which they were planted. 

There were no more farm-houses outside of the town, and the 
houses in the outskirts were but little scattered. Except one or 
two of the low thatch-roofed, stake-walled jacals, they were all 
built of sun-dried bricks, one story in height, with fiat, cemented 
roofs, surrounded by a parapet eighteen inches high. They were 
of the simplest oblong, rectangular form, in fact, much like a 



344 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

brick-kiln set lengthways upon the street, with a single door in 
front, sometimes with a window or two, and sometimes with none. 
There were irrigated gardens and small orchards of peach, and 
apple, and fig-trees about them, and often they were shaded by 
lofty forest trees — pecan, walnut, beech, cottonwood, and cypress, 
remarkably large and beautiful. As soon as we got among these 
trees we noticed an unusual number of birds : it would seem that 
they were attracted, by their height and beauty, to leave the 
wilderness of shrubs (where, doubtless, also, they are exposed to 
snakes and other sly enemies), and were not much annoyed by 
the amiable Mexicans ; they were, indeed, as I afterwards ascer- 
tained, more tame and confident than field-birds usually are in 
our country. 

As we came among the houses, considerable curiosity was 
shown by the people to see us — children, who had been lounging or 
playing outside the doors, often calling to the people in the houses 
to come and look at " los Americanos" (though Mexican writers 
say we arrogate that title to ourselves). The women were dressed 
loosely, and rather scantily, but not untidily ; numbers of them 
were sitting at their doors, sewing, or engaged in that other 
friendly occupation to which I have before alluded. They looked 
at us modestly and good-naturedly as we passed, often giving us 
a gracious smile if we turned our faces toward them. At one 
house the inmates were kneeling near the door, and seemed to 
be engaged in prayer. Very few men were to be seen, but many 
girls and boys, the latter, when not more than two years old, gener- 
ally stark naked. When we reached the principal street, we found 
upon the corner a company of Indians, on horseback and on foot, 
around the door of a shop where Woodland had hoped to obtain 
lodgings for us, for there was no public-house in the town. 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 345 

"Mescalero — Lipan — Tonkaway!" he muttered, scowling 
anxiously as we approached them ; " I know that fellow ; I've 
seen him on the Leona. What are they here for ?" 

We halted while he rode among the group, and conversed 
with a Mexican a moment. When he came out, he said — 

" They won't take us in here. I don't know what we shall 
do. Do you see that old fellow with the squaw — that's a Co- 
manche. I wonder what he's here for 1 ? Some of Wildcat's devil- 
try, I expect." 

As we rode on past the Indians, they turned to look at us, 
speaking loudly to one another, and laughing, and some of the 
younger ones beckoning to us to stop, and shouting, " Hi ! 
hi!" 

" Don't mind them ; ride on, ride on !" whispered Woodland, 
" they are looking at your rifle." 

The houses in this main street were, generally, of a superior 
character, many of them being built of stone, and most of them 
plastered over and whitewashed. Some were ornamented with 
bright colored stripes about the doors and windows, and with 
stenciled leaves and rosettes. The doors, window-cages, and 
roof-spouts were much carved, often with representations in 
relief, facetiously rude, of course, of men and angels, and 
birds and beasts. There was only a single house in the town 
more than one story in height, but the parapet of many of those 
on this street was fifteen to twenty feet above the ground, their 
apartments having correspondingly lofty ceilings. 

Stopping next at the store of a French merchant, we were 
directed to a house where we might probably obtain lodgings. 
While I remained a moment behind the rest of the party, in conver- 
sation with the Frenchman, who was anxious to learn what was last 
15* 



346 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

doing at the opera in New Orleans, and what progress the Cuban 
filibusters had made, an Indian came up, and tried to take my 
Sharp's rifle. I drew it away from him, and he, addressing me 
angrily, took hold of my arm, and tried to pull it towards him. 

" Keep it away from him, keep it away !" cried the French- 
man. 

I spurred my horse, and, with my free hand, disengaged my- 
self from him, laughing, and cantering off. He followed me for 
a few rods, yelling and gesticulating violently. The Indians all 
seemed to know the " Sharp " by sight, and to have a great desire 
to handle it. One of them told Woodland that he knew it had 
miraculous power to kill Indians. 

My companions had arrived at the house pointed out, and the 
proprietor, a quizzical, bald-headed, pug-nosed, fat, waddling, 
little man, had summoned his family to the door to look at us, 
and say whether they would receive us. They immediately con- 
cluded to do so, with evident pleasure. We dismounted, and 
stood holding our horses. 

" Well, come in," said our host. 

" Thank you," thought I, " but what is to become of our 
horses !" 

He understood me, and took my horse by the head, bowing 
to the door again. So, leaving Woodland to look to the horses, 
I walked in. Outside, the house appeared a mere plain, dead 
wall of adobes, having, except the single door of entrance, no 
other openings than the spout-holes of the roof. Within, was 
a single room, about forty feet long and fifteen broad, the floor 
of hard-trodden earth, and the ceiling some sixteen feet above 
it, of bamboo, laid with cement, on small, crooked, unhewn 
rafters. As there were no windows, and but two small, low 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 347 

doors, there was a great depth of gloom overhead. At one end, 
upon the whitewashed wall, hung a large old painting, the sub- 
ject imperceptible except to the eye of faith; a crucifix over it; 
a small painting of a mermaid-like martyr, with long, draggling, 
unsinged hair, rising, head and shoulders, out from a sea of fire ; 
and several coarse woodcuts of saints and friars. Near this., on 
a narrow shelf, was a blunderbuss, a horse-pistol, and a thin 
prayer-book, the only literature in the house. At this end of 
the room were three broad beds, with elaborately worked cover- 
lids, used in the day as lounges. Two large chests, containing 
finery and valuables, stood next the beds, then a sort of settle, 
or high-backed bench, against the wall, wide enough to be used 
for a bed ; then a broad, low table, used for a dining table when 
any one dined in the house, also as a bedstead for two at night. 
A little box or crib, in which a baby lay sucking its fists, swung 
near the floor by a hide rope from the ceiling. A tall, comely, 
Madonna-like woman was kneeling on one of the beds, in the 
act of putting on a dress which lay before her. Pausing at my 
entrance, she meets my eye, when it turns curious in that direc- 
tion, unabashed, and with an indolent welcome. Three other 
women, the eldest — the senora — a dumpy little person, with 
soft, half-closed eyes, and a large mouth continually smiling. 
Troops of children, quite too numerous to mention, among 
whom it is hardly gentlemanly to include a dignified girl, doubt- 
fully young, very dark-colored, but with beautiful liquid eyes, 
sweetly shaded by long, curving, black lashes. 

I might have seen all I have described at one end of the house, 
before, somewhat to my consternation, I found that the serior was 
leading my horse in at the door. The horse followed him readily 
enough, no doubt thinking it a stable, and feeling fully as much 



348 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

at home as I did. However, he was not to be quartered in the 
dwelling exactly. Near the end opposite to that I have described, 
was a back door ; out of this, presently, they went, our host and 
the pony, the others following. This end of the house had no 
other furniture than a cupboard and a few forms, on which were 
calabashes and earthen pots. A saddle or two, also, hung here, 
and some fowls were picking about. The door opened upon a 
house-court and garden, which was inclosed by high and strong 
palisades. Woodland examined it, and was apparently some- 
what relieved as he did so. " This will do," he said, " better 
than I expected; some of them Indians wouldn't be at all back- 
ward about taking these horses it we gave 'em a chance — that 
old Comanche devil squeezed his eye at this mule — he don't see 
such in Mexico very often." 

Saddles and bridles were taken off and carried into the house, 
and we divested ourselves of our Colts and belt-knives, which 
were immediately deposited in one of the big chests in the house. 
A fanega of maize was then sent for to feed the horses, who, 
meantime, were rolling on the smooth ground of the court-yard, 
and drinking from the acequia which divided it from the garden. 
In this court-yard were several walnut and fig-trees, under which 
our horses were fastened ; also, a high, dome-formed oven, made 
of adobes, one of which is to be seen behind every Mexican 
house, though I nowhere saw one in use, except for a chicken- 
coop or dog-kennel. Various vegetables were growing in the 
garden, but more maize than all else. 

Hearing a continual slap, slap, slap, in the next yard, I looked 
between the stakes to see what made the sound. A woman, with 
her back toward me, was kneeling upon the ground, under a fig- 
tree close to the fence, rubbing the matate, and a pretty girl of 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 349 

fifteen was kneeling before her, clapping her hands, or rather 
slapping a tortilla between them. She stopped a moment to look 
at me, and, dropping her arms, her chemise — the only garment 
she wore — fell loosely off her shoulders, disclosing a beautiful 
little bust ; she tossed back the thick, dark locks from her face, 
then, smiling frankly and cordially, in return to my smile, began 
to clap her hands again, bending so as still to look at me and let 
me see her face under the arch of her uplifted elbow. Woodland 
interrupted the pretty study by asking for our landlady what we 
would have for dinner. " Some meat, cooked Mexican fashion, 
tortillas andfrijoles, and anything else she likes, so it be Mexican 
— whatever she would get for her husband if he was uncommonly 
hungry, and she wanted him to be uncommonly good-natured 
after it." 

A fire was made upon the ground in a corner of the yard near 
the door of the house, one woman went to hashing a haunch of 
kid, another sliced some onions, leeks, and red peppers, getting 
a caution from Woodland about these things, to which she replied, 
with a laugh — " the Americans are not Mexicans ;" the matron 
brought a calabash of soaked maize, rubbed it, with great labor, 
on the matate to a paste, which the handsome lady, who had 
returned from church, and was now dressed like the rest, in a 
loose, low-necked, sleeveless garment of white, fell to slapping 
into thin round cakes, displaying much grace and dexterity. 
A dish of the small brown beans, which constitute, next to 
maize, and with red pepper (chile Colorado), the principal food 
of the people of Mexico, was also brought to be warmed up for 
us. When boiled for tw T elve hours or more, then dried in a sauce- 
pan with their sauce of butter and pepper, these Mexican 
beans, as we had found in Texas, are excellent to the taste 



350 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and a very wholesome and nourishing, and extremely cheap 
food. 

The tortillas having been cooked upon a flat piece of iron held 
over the fire, we sat down to dinner, at a low table, the family 
standing good-humoredly around to watch our American proceed- 
ings. Our first difficulty was the absence of fork or spoon, but 
we soon learned from Woodland the secret of twisting a tortilla 
into a substitute, and disposed of a hearty meal. The whole we 
found excellent after our Texan experiences. The tortillas are 
decidedly superior to the southern corn " pone." The removal of 
the hull from the meal by lye, changes the character of the dish, 
and though really less cooked than the baked bread, it has the taste 
and the digestion of something more ready for the stomach. The 
constant and severe labor of the women of the family during all 
our stay was the manufacture of this bread. 

Dinner over, we sauntered through the town. The houses 
were of a better class than most of those in San Antonio. Low- 
roofed and without windows, they give a silent, Sunday air to the 
town. The place had a comfortable look, and the people had 
the cbaracteristics of a slow, kind, light-hearted and contented 
peasantry. As strangers, we were much observed, but with a 
polite, hospitable sort of curiosity. The implements and carts 
were of the real unimproved Mexican stamp. 

The principal movement was given to the streets by the In- 
dians, who were, in numbers, riding helter-skelter about, knock- 
ing down black-birds with arrows, having trials of skill at cart- 
hubs, lying about in all postures of real or affected drunkenness, 
lounging in and out of every house, and carrying themselves 
everywhere with such an air as indicated they were masters of 
the town. In fact, their tone was unendurable on any other 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 351 

supposition. They entered every door, fell on every neck, patted 
the women on the cheek, helped themselves to whatever suited 
their fancy, and distributed their scowls or grunts of pleasure 
according to their sensations. The inhabitants seemed to be 
quite used to this state of things, which to us was astonishing 
to the last degree. 

While we were standing in the door of our French acquaint- 
ance, one of the rascals rode up, and, slapping him upon the 
back, demanded whisky. 

" None." 

" Tobacco?" 

"None.^ 

" Colors, for daubing the face ?" 

"None." 

" Friend?" 

"Yes." 

He then repeated the same list, with the same replies. Then 
fixing his eye upon the Frenchman, he gazed steadily in his face 
a few moments. The Frenchman not flinching, he slowly, and 
without changing his look, drew an iron-barbed arrow from his 
quiver, fixed it upon the bowstring, aimed the point at the mer- 
chant's breast, and pulled the bow up to the arrow-head. I ex- 
pected to see it go through the body — a slip of the finger would 
have sent it. The Frenchman stood quiet for a moment, but 
suddenly, with a jerk of the arm, turned the arrow aside, then 
reaching inside his door, brought out a double-barreled gun, 
cocked it, and put the muzzle to the Indian's head. The Indian 
made no effort to remove it, but grunted, and seemed particularly 
relieved when the gun was taken down. Taking the Indian's 
bow, the Frenchman, with a slight snap of the string, sent an 



352 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

arrow across the street. It stuck in a wooden door so fast as 
to require the use of a hammer to extract it. The Indian 
asked, with a nudge toward us, of what nation we were. 

" Germans," said the Frenchman ; then to us, " he would be 
capable of doing you some harm if he knew you to be Ameri- 
cans." 

The Indian gave a great shrug, and rode away. 

A tall American, wrapped in a shabby cloak, was pointed out 
to us as a deserter from the other side the Eio Grande. He 
had arrived in exceedingly destitute circumstances, and had at 
once commenced the practice of medicine. Woodland, apropos, 
had several good stories of old friends of his in the same busi- 
ness, he had come across in his various journeys in Mexico. 
One of them, who had served in the ranks with himself, he 
found in Saltillo lately. 

" But, Jim," said he, " what do you do in real serious cases, 
now — child-bed, for instance f" 

" Oh, I pile in the calomel, and let 'em slide," was the reply 
of the Senor Medico. The poorer Mexicans seem to consider 
us as a nation of seventh sons. 

Eeturning to our house in the evening, we found our beds 
made upon the ground in the court-yard, exposed to the bright 
moon. This was a precaution of Woodland's against Indian 
horse-stealers. Our arms were brought out with great formality 
and placed by our sides — a Colt and knife under each pillow. 
These preparations for a pleasant night's rest were made for 
us with perfect seriousness by our host, and, on our laughing at 
the warlike appearance of our beds, he smilingly said, "It is but 
a proper precaution." The air was delicious, and we slept well. 

For breakfast, we demanded chocolate, expecting the pure 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 353 

native production. It came frothing in French fashion, and we 
discovered had actually come from Paris, an importation of the 
Frenchman's from New Orleans. The town was even more crowd- 
ed with Indians than the day before, and we found it difficult to 
avoid collision with them, so disgusting and extreme was their 
familiarity. They seemed to regard us with a skulking malice, 
and we resolved to withdraw from their neighborhood as soon as 
possible. During the day, we made some efforts to talk with in- 
telligent people, but could find no one who was communicable. 
Even those living in easy circumstances were surprisingly unin- 
structed. They seemed to dislike to approach the topic of an- 
nexation ; but gave us to understand that they did not so much 
fear a change of allegiance as the loss of their property, by the 
private rapacity of bullying Americans, referring us to what had 
taken place in Texas. 

The alcalde, with all the affable dignity of him at Piedras 
Negras, gave us visas for our passports, and a welcome to the 
country. His dwelling, the most imposing of the town, was 
upon the grand plaza, opposite the church, which had once been 
a considerable structure, but was now in extreme dilapidation, 
partly occupied, as were all the tall trees of the town, by flocks 
of daws, or large long-tailed blackbirds, who filled the air with 
an inconceivably strepitant chatter. 

OUT OF MEXICO. 

The following day, we rode southward, through the little 
towns of Morelos and San Juan to Nava, The country was 
flat, and, everywhere, away from the villages, covered with dense 
chaparral. The towns, though varying in size, were upon the 
same model as San Fernando, and the people of a precisely mm- 



354 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

lar character. We dined, again, upon stewed kid, with a fat old 
gentleman, who entertained us for half an hour with an 
account of his running the American lines, with dispatches, 
during the last war. He affected deafness, and the sentries, 
considering it too absurd to believe that such a slow, waddling 
old customer could be bent on any mischief, allowed him to 
pass. 

We saw no Indians beyond San Fernando. At Nava we were 
hospitably received in the best house of the town, a stuccoed 
mansion of much pretension. Behind were two courts, reached 
through a porte cochere, the first small and surrounded by out- 
houses, the second large and walled, having the stables, and a 
supply of running water for animals. The ladies were beaming 
but vague. The host, Seilor Don Tomas Cantu, appeared to be 
a land proprietor, and had interest in our descriptions of Ameri- 
can agriculture. He told us that much of the land of the 
neighborhood had been gradually worn out by constant cropping, 
and that new ditches were now in construction, through land 
still to be cleared of bushes. Corn was planted, at one foot 
apart, in drills three feet apart, and the usual production was 
three hundred fold. As on the upper Eio Grande, nothing is 
raised without irrigation. 

We saw several large flocks of sheep, brought in to be folded. 
They were of very inferior quality, and were held at fifty cents a 
head. Before the late edict, prohibiting exportation, they were 
worth seventy-five cents. They had here no horses for sale, but 
farther back from the river were large stocks, whence herds w r ere 
constantly driven into Texas. They were sold at six dollars the 
head, a mare with her colt counting as one, and one stallion be- 
ing added without charge to every twenty head purchased. They 



A TRIP OVER THE FRONTIER. 355 

are broken upon the road, trie Mexican drivers receiving one dol- 
lar per day for this work. 

As at San Fernando, the streets of Nava were shaded by 
magnificent trees, some of the Pecans, now barely in open leaf, 
reaching ninety feet in height. The cypresses were in full 
foliage, the apples and quinces had dropped their blossoms, and 
showed young fruit upon their branches (April 8). 

The following day we rode through thirty miles of chaparral, 
down a gentle slope, to Piedras Negras. After one lonely, 
dewy, snaky, starlit camp in the desert, interrupted, after mid- 
night, by a suspicious black or red nocturnal traveler, who 
passed close by our lurking-place without discovering us, w T e 
reached the Texan settlements, and, parting with our guide as 
from a friend, returned by easy stages, without other incident 
than our ride with Castro, to San Antonio. 

The Mexican towns w 7 e had visited, were in no matter of life 
different, upon this frontier, from those of Central Mexico. The 
impression had been of a fixed stagnancy, amounting to a slow 
national decay ; the cause, a religious enslavement of the mind, 
preventing education, communication, and growth, giving rise to 
bigotry, hypocrisy, political and social tyranny, bad faith, 
priestly spoliation, and, worst of all, utter degradation of labor. 



CHAP. VI. 

ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 

For the return route, we adopted a line that should lead us as 
nearly as possible along the eastern shore toward New Orleans, 
hoping to see something of the old-established herdsmen of the 
coast-prairies, and of the Creole life of Western Louisiana. 

On the morning of the twenty-fourth of April, we looked back 
for the last time, from the San Pedro spring, on the familiar roofs 
of San Antonio. Having divested ourselves of our pack and of all 
useless weight, we were prepared for more rapid travel, carrying 
each a single blanket, to preserve the delightful nocturnal free- 
dom of the prairie. We had learned, like all who make the ex- 
perience, to love the sweet breath of night and the company of 
the stars. We took for variety the old and longer road to Neu- 
Braunfels, which follows the Comal creek, and found it, though 
almost disused, much more shaded and various than the direct 
road across the open hills. As we approached within ten or fif- 
teen miles of the town, small German farms appeared, and for the 
remaining distance they lined the road upon both sides. 

Abput four miles from San Antonio we passed the stock farm 
of Mr. Ujhazy, late governor of Comorn. We stopped a few 
moments to pay him our respects, and were very cordially re- 
ceived. He had but recently entered his new log-house, and was 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 357 

hardly yet established. His first settlement was made in Iowa, 
whence, finding the climate too severe, he had moved by the 
long inland route to Texas, driving his herd of valuable mares 
through the friendly Indian country, and camping nightly with 
all his family, while on the journey. He had spent some time 
in looking about the State, and finally purchased a large tract of 
land here, on which he was now making a new home. His wife 
having died during his residence in Iowa, he lives secluded with 
his faithful daughter, the very picture of a staunch, hale old 
gentleman, who supports with quiet dignity what fortunes the 
gods have decreed. He finds the climate here not to differ 
greatly from that to which he was accustomed in Hungary, and 
thinks it more salubrious than that of Iowa. He told us that 
Kossuth still held near Corpus Christi a thousand acres of prairie, 
presented him during his visit to this country. 

FROM THE GUADALUPE TO THE BRAZOS. 

From Braunfels to the Colorado our road lay over long gentle 
swells, with an occasional creek of pure water and patch of shade. 
The prairies were laughing with flowers in ravishing luxuriance, 
whole acres of green being often entirely lost under their decora- 
tion of blue and purple. Near Bastrop we entered a tedious 
sandy tract of post-oak, a camp which, under our single blan- 
kets, I remember as one of the chilliest. To Lagrange, a pleas- 
ant and busy village, the road keeps the pine-bearing sand, 
rarely descending into the Colorado bottoms, which are very 
fertile, and well stocked with old plantations. This large island 
of lumber is very valuable and important to the western part of 
the State. It is sprinkled with saw-mills, driven by the numer- 
ous streamlets that drain it. Several leagues near Bastrop 



358 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

are the property of the town, and yield a considerable reve- 
nue. 

In crossing to the Brazos at San Felipe, we rode through a dis- 
trict occupied by German farmers of some means, and apparently 
in thriving condition, for many of them were engaged in enlarging 
and decorating their houses. All cultivated cotton, and some 
had very extensive fields of excellent promise. We saw no 
negroes among them. The night before (April 28th) we had 
noticed a slight hoar frost in the bottom, where we camped ; but, 
though some delicate weeds were wilted, the cotton-leaves showed 
no signs of injury. The cotton plant had now a general resem- 
blance to the young growth of the ruta-baga, before the rough 
leaves are fully developed. Corn was from two to four feet high 
wherever early planted. Blackberries and mulberries were ripe, 
and string-beans, peas, and new potatoes were upon the table 
before we left San Antonio. 

NORTHERN SETTLERS. 

The soil throughout the district we- were crossing, wa,s admira- 
bly adapted for cotton — a rich, dark, sandy loam, with a roll- 
ing surface, beautifully broken by clusters and irregular groves 
of trees. 

On the ridge between the Colorado and the Brazos, we 
traversed for ten miles another poor sandy tract, covered with 
post-oak. Approaching the Brazos, we came upon twelve miles 
of high, open prairies, which gradually descended toward the 
river bottom. 

Here we spent a night in the house of a settler from Maine, in 
whose family we found unusual comforts. He had moved here 
because he was threatened with consumption ; but since his set- 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 359 

tlement had had none of his old symptoms, unless after some 
unusual exertion. He had found the summers very long, but on 
the whole he thought less oppressive, because the heat was less con- 
centrated and intense, than those of Maine. He was dissatisfied 
with his position here, and intended to move westward. 

The only salable production of his farm was corn, which in a 
good year produced forty to sixty bushels per acre ; but the last 
year, owing to a two months' drought, he had made but ten 
bushels. 

Sheep were not kept here. He had known one flock of fifty, 
whijSh perished of neglect in winter. Cattle were very profitable. 
Beef cattle were now worth $15, and working oxen from $50 to 
$75 the yoke. 

He sneered at his planting neighbors for living without com- 
fort, saying that all the money they got went to buy " more nig- 
ger help." He employed himself four free laborers — two English 
and two Germans. There were many Germans in his neighbor- 
hood, all small farmers or farm-laborers ; he thought two hun- 
dred might be mustered at two hours' notice, at his house. When 
first arriving they were very poor, and hired themselves to labor 
at such wages as they could get. As soon as they could, they 
acquired farms of their own, living very poorly until they had a 
good herd of cattle ; then better, as to their table, than any 
American. He knew but two Mexicans in the country — one of 
whom had lately taken a German wife, having established him- 
self upon a farm of his own. 

At the house of another Northern man, who had lived in this 
part of Texas many years, we found two negroes — a male and a 
female — and seven white hired hands. He was well convinced, 
from his experience, that white men trained to labor could do 



360 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

more work, the summer through, than negroes. From June to 
August he allowed his hands, both white and black, to knock off 
work for three hours in the heat of the day. He believed he had 
done more hard work during his first five years in the State 
than any negro in Texas, and had never felt the worse for it. 

At his house we were furnished with corn for our horses 
which had come in bags from Ohio, by Galveston. He had paid 
$1 50 per bushel for it, and thought it would be the last time he 
should not raise corn enough for his own purposes. Many a 
planter near him, he said, had allowed his corn to go to waste in 
order to apply the time of his hands to picking cotton. OrTe of 
his neighbors had lost at least 1,000 bushels — now worth 
$1,500 — from mould, mice, hogs, and neglect. 

The town of San Felipe, famous as the first American village 
in Texas, we found composed of two stores and six dwellings — 
making progress only toward dilapidation. 

The Brazos bottoms near by, are four or Hvq miles wide. 
They are of very great fertility, and the land commands high 
prices. A gentleman from Alabama had recently purchased a 
league (4,400 acres) for $40,000, and during the winter, with three 
hundred negroes, had cleared and planted seven hundred acres. 
The bottom is seldom reached by freshets, but was covered in 
those of the years 1833, 1843, and 1852. We were landed 
from the ferry near night, and, barely accomplishing the dark 
and heavy miles of bottom by twilight, camped under a group 
of huge oaks, at the edge of the great coast-prairie. 

To Houston the road lay across a flat surface, having a wet, 
sandy or " craw-fish" soil, bearing a coarse, rushy grass, diver- 
sified by occasional belts of pine and black-jack. We had 
reached the level prairie region of the coast, and in fact saw 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 361 

henceforth not one appreciable elevation until we crossed the 
Mississippi. Five miles from Houston we entered a pine forest, 
which extends to the town. 

HOUSTON. 

Houston, at the head of the navigation of Buffalo Bayou, 
has had for many years the advantage of being the point of 
transhipment of a great part of the merchandise that enters 
or leaves the State. It shows many agreeable signs of the wealth 
accumulated, in homelike, retired residences, its large and good 
hotel, its well-supplied shops, and its shaded streets. The prin- 
cipal thoroughfare, opening from the steamboat landing, is the 
busiest we saw in Texas. Near the bayou are extensive cotton- 
sheds, and huge exposed piles of bales.* The bayou itself is 
hardly larger than an ordinary canal, and steamboats would be 
unable to turn, were it not for a deep creek opposite the levee, 
up which they can push their stems. There are several neat 
churches, a theatre (within the walls of a steam saw T -mill), and a 
most remarkable number of showy bar-rooms and gambling 
saloons. A poster announced that the " cock-pit is open every 
night, and on Saturday night five fights will come off for a stake 
of $100." 

A curious feature of the tow 7 n is the appearance of small cis- 
terns of tar, in which long-handled dippers are floating, at the 
edge of the sidewalk, at the front of each store. This is for the 
use of the swarming wagoners. 

Houston (pronounced Hewston) has the reputation of being 
an unhealthy residence. The country around it is low and flat, 

* The receipts of cotton for the year ending Sept. 1, 1856, were 45,557 bales, 
or about one-half the receipts of Galveston. 

16 



362 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and generally covered by pines. It is settled by small farm- 
ers, many of whom are Germans, owning a few cattle, and draw- 
ing a meagre subsistence from the thin soil. A large number of 
unfortunate emigrants, who arrive with exhausted purses, remain 
in the town at labor, or purchase a little patch or cabin in the 
vicinity. The greater part of the small tradesmen and mechanics 
of the town are German. 

In the bayou bottoms near by, we noticed many magnolias, 
now in full glory of bloom, perfuming delicately the whole at- 
mosphere. We sketched one which stood one hundred and ten 
feet high, in perfect symmetry of development, superbly dark and 
lustrous in foliage, and studded from top to lowest branch with 
hundreds of great delicious white flowers. 

A CAPTURED RUNAWAY. 

Sitting, one morning of our stay, upon the gallery of the 
hotel, we witnessed a revolting scene. A tall, jet black negro 
came up, leading by a rope a downcast mulatto, whose hands 
were lashed by a cord to his waist, and whose face was horribly 
cut, and dripping with blood. The wounded man crouched 
and leaned for support against one of the columns of the 
gallery. 

"What's the matter with that boy?" asked a smoking lounger. 

" I run a fork into his face," answered the negro. 

"What are his hands tied for?" 

"He's a runaway, sir." 

"Did you catch him?" 

" Yes, sir. He was hiding in the hay-loft, and when I went 
up to throw some hay to the horses, I pushed the fork down into 
the mow and it struck something hard. I didn't know what it 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 363 

was, and I pushed hard, and gave it a turn, and then he hollered, 
and I took it out. 

" What do you bring him here, for !" 

" Come for the key of the jail, sir, to lock him up." 

" What !" said another, " one darkey catch another darkey ? 
Don't believe that story." 

" Oh yes, Mass'r, I tell for true. He was down in our hay- 
loft, and so you see when I stab him, I have to catch him." 

"Why, he's hurt bad, isn't he?" 

" Yes, he says I pushed through the bones." 

"Whose nigger is he?" 

" He says he belong to Mass'r Frost, sir, on the Brazos." 

The key was soon brought, and the negro led the mulatto away 
to jail. He seemed sick and faint, and walked away limping 
and crouching, as if he had received other injuries than those on 
his face. The bystanders remarked that the negro had not 
probably told the whole story. 

We afterwards happened to see a gentleman on horseback, 
and smoking, leading by a long rope through the deep mud, out 
into the country, the poor mulatto, still limping and crouching, 
his hands manacled, and his arms pinioned. 

There is a prominent slave-mart in town, which held a large 
lot of likely-looking negroes, waiting purchasers. In the win- 
dows of shops, and on the doors and columns of the hotel, were 
many written advertisements headed, "A likely negro girl for 
sale." " Two negroes for sale." " Twenty negro boys for 
sale," etc. 

THE LOW PRAIRIES. 

We were unable to procure at Houston, any definite informa- 
tion with regard to our proposed route. The known roads thence, 



384 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

are those that branch northward and westward from their levee, 
/ and so thoroughly within lines of business does local knowledge 
lie, that the eastern shore is completely terra incognita. The 
roads east were said to be bad after heavy rains, but the season 
had been dry and we determined to follow the direct and dis- 
tinct road, laid down upon our map. 

Now that I am in a position to give preliminary information, 
however, there is no reason why the reader should enter this 
region as ignorant as we did. 

Our route took us by Harrisburg and San Jacinto to Liberty, 
upon the Trinity ; thence by Beaumont to the Sabine at Turn- 
er's ferry ; thence by the Big Woods and Lake Charles to Ope- 
lousas, the old capital of St. Landry Parish, at the western head 
of the intricate navigation from New Orleans. 

This large district, extending from the Trinity river to the 
bayous of the Mississippi, has, throughout, the same general 
characteristics, the principal of which are, lowness, flatness, and 
wetness. The soil is variable, but is in greater part a loose, 
sandy loam, covered with coarse grasses, forming level prairies, 
which are everywhere broken by belts of pine forests, usually 
bordering creeks and bayous, but often standing in islands. The 
surface is but very slightly elevated above the sea ; I suppose, 
upon an average, less than ten feet. It is, consequently, imper- 
fectly drained, and in a wet season a large proportion is literally 
covered with water, as in crossing it, even in a dry time, we were 
obliged to wade through many miles of marshy pools. The 
river-bottoms, still lower than the general level, are subject to 
constant overflow by tide-water, and what with the fallen tim- 
ber, the dense undergrowth, the mire-quags, the abrupt gullies, 
the patches of rotten or floating corduroy, and three or four feet 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 365 

of dirty salt-water, the roads through them are not such as one 
would choose for a morning ride. The country is sparsely set- 
tled, containing less than one inhabitant to the square mile, one 
in four being a slave. 

The people are herdsmen, cultivating no other crop than corn, 
and of that, not enough to supply their own bread demand. 
The greater part are of Louisiana origin. They live in isolated 
cabins, hold little intercourse with one another, and almost none 
with the outside world. Steamboats land their coffee and salt 
on the Sabine and Trinity, at irregular intervals, but no wheeled 
vehicles traverse the region. In two weeks' ride we met with but 
one specimen, the " mud-cart" of a grocery-peddler, whose wheels 
were broad blocks sawn from a log. No other road is 
known than the one by which cattle are driven to the New Or- 
leans market, and this one so imperfectly, that we added proba- 
bly fifty stray miles to our distance, by following indistinct paths 
and erroneous information. As hogs do not flourish upon the 
grass or beneath the pines, the table is relieved by the substitute 
of jerked, and, sometimes, fresh beef, and in the best houses we 
found biscuit, of wheat-flour and lard, a common comfort. In 
fact, the cuisine is modified even in Texas, by a soupcon of 
Frenchiness, and in Louisiana, as we approached the confines of 
civilization, we obtained, now and then, a supper that made our 
mouths water with Creole sauces. A traveler, other than a 
beef-speculator, was a thing unknown, and our object was usual- 
ly an incomprehensible mystery. Hardly once did we see a 
newspaper or a book, other than an almanac or a franked 
patent-office report. 

The many pools, through which the usual track took us, were 
swarming with venomous water-snakes, four or five black mocca- 



S66 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

sins often lifting at once their devilish heads above the dirty sur- 
face, and wriggling about our horses' heels. Beyond the Sabine, 
alligator holes are an additional excitement, the unsuspicious tra- 
veler suddenly sinking through the treacherous surface, and 
sometimes falling a victim, horse and all, to the hideous jaws of 
the reptile, while overwhelmed by the engulfing mire in which 
he lurks. 

Upon the whole, this is not the spot in which I should prefer 
to come to light, burn, and expire ; in fact, if the nether regions, 
as was suggested by the dream-gentleman of Natchitoches, be 
" a boggy country," the avernal entrance might, I should think, 
with good probabilities, be looked for in this region. With these 
general notions, the reader may, if he please, save himself the 
following particulars. 

TO THE TRINITY. 

Leaving Houston, we followed a well-marked road, as far as a 
bayou, beyond which we entered a settlement of half-a-dozen 
houses, that, to our surprise, proved to be the town of Harris- 
burg, a rival (at some distance) of Houston. It is the star 7 ing- 
point of the only railroad yet completed in Texas, extending to 
Kichmond on the Brazos, and has a depth of water in the bayou 
sufficient for a larger class of boats from Galveston. Houston, 
however, having ten or fifteen years, and odd millions of dollars, 
the start, will not be easily overridden. Taking a road here, by 
direction, which, after two miles, only ran " up a tree," we were 
obliged to return for more precise information. 

At noon, we were ferried over a small bayou by a shining 
black bundle of rags, and instructed by her as follows : 

" Yer see dem two tall pine in de timber ober dar cross de par- 
ara, yandar. Yer go right straight da, and da yer'll see de trail 






ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 367 

somewar. Dat ar go to Lynchburg. Lor ! I'se nebber been da — 
don'no wedder's ary house or no — don'no wedder's ary deep 
byoo or no — reckon yer can go, been so dry." 

Two miles across the grass we found the pines and a trail, 
which continually broke into cattle-paths, but, by following the 
general course, we duly reached San Jacinto, a city somewhat 
smaller than Harrisburg, laid out upon the edge of the old bat- 
tle-field. 

Upon the opposite shore of the river lies the "town of Lynch- 
burg," which has been recommended, by a commission, for a 
national naval depot. It consists, at present, of one house and 
out-buildings. Within this house is the city post-office, where, 
when we mailed a letter, we received, for the first time in six 
months, a cent in change. A Texan, who was standing by, de- 
manded to see it, saying that he had never known before that 
there existed such a coin ; he had supposed it as imaginary as 
the mill. The South has no copper currency, the fraction of a 
dime being considered too minute for attention. There is a cer- 
tain vague and agreeable largeness in this, but the contrast of 
her working and lounging class with the penny-papered and 
penny-lettered corresponding class in the copper-circulating 
States is not so pleasing. 

A FIRST-CLASS TEXAS GRAZIER. 

A ride of thirty-five miles took us to the Trinity. On the 
way we spent a night at one of the largest stock-farms of the 
district. Its management will afford a better idea of the local 
system of stock-raising than any subsequently examined. 

The residence was large but rude, and no more descriptive 
adjectives could be applied to our style of welcome on arrival. 



363 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We rocle up at evening, at the same moment with, a cavalcade of 
young men, partly of the family, partly invited neighbors. We 
were permitted without much auxiliary explanation, and with 
some indirect jeers, to follow the example of the rest and turn 
our horses, after stripping them, into a fenced pasture, almost 
the only one we saw in Texas, where five or six fathoms of rope 
are the usual substitute for stable and paddock. The young 
men then proceeded to lasso and slaughter a bullock for supper, 
while we were suffered to wander about like strange cats and 
familiarize ourselves with the premises. The ground adjacent to 
the house was nearly all fenced and divided into large and small 
pens, pleasantly shaded by groves of oak. Among the inclo- 
sures were a good garden and a large field planted in corn and 
sweet-potatoes. 

The process of obtaining milk for the table was somewhat 
singular. In a small pen are kept a number of calves, whose 
mothers come in morning and evening to give them suck. The 
lady of the house lets down the bars, holding a little piggin, a 
bucket, and a short rope, and accompanied by a small boy. The 
cows enter eagerly, and the calves at once commence drawing 
their respective rations. The lady then throws a lasso over the 
horns of one of the cows, the boy attaching the other end of the 
rope to the neck of the calf, whose lips are drawn beyond reach 
of the udder. The lady then takes its place and milks into the 
piggin, held closely by one hand. After about a pint is drawn, 
the tantalized calf is allowed to squirm back to his natural place, 
and when the milk is emptied into the bucket outside the fence, 
the bosom of another happy family is invaded. Thus, in about 
half an hour, a dozen cows were milked and the pail filled. 

The supper was of fresh beef, corn bread, and coffee. On a 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 369 

side-table stood a decanter of whisky, out of which all, men and 
boys, had a pull on entering". Our host, we found, was original- 
ly a Kentuckian, now many years settled here. He w r as a man 
of intelligence, and after supper had leisure for some civil con- 
versation with us upon the gallery. His sons and their friends 
were -silly, rude, illiterate, and stupid, as, perhaps, might be ex- 
pected from their isolation. 

The year's increase of their herd was now five hundred head. 
This was the season for the annual gathering and branding of the 
calves. They had been returning from " a drive," when we came 
up, but one so small as to be of no account. When a regular 
drive is made, a dozen neighbors, from twenty miles or more 
about, assemble at a place agreed upon, each man bringing two 
or three extra horses. These are driven before the company, and 
form the nucleus of the cattle-herd collected. They first drive 
the outer part of the circuit, within which their cattle are sup- 
posed to range, the radius of which is here about forty miles. 
All cattle having their marks, and all calves following their cows, 
are herded and driven to pens which have been prepared, in this 
case to the number of ten, at different points upon the circuit. 
They are absent from two to three weeks upon this first drive, 
usually contriving to arrive by night at a pen in which the stock 
are inclosed, otherwise guarding them in the open prairie. When 
the vicinity of a house is reached, the cattle are divided, each 
man's driven into a separate pen, the calves are branded and all 
turned loose again. 

The law allows no property in a weaned calf unbrancled, and 
any one finding such, places his own brand upon them, or slaugh- 
ters them for his personal use. Dishonest people often take ad- 
vantage of this, by splitting the tongues of calves to prevent 
16* 



370 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

their sucking, and branding them as if found weaned. This 
charge we heard especially made at Houston, against the poor 
Germans of the neighborhood. Here the complaint was, that 
calves were sometimes stolen and killed, when straying into the 
swamps, by vagabonds, who did not dare kill them upon open 
prairie. When cattle are sold, the. new brand is placed above 
the old one, and such double brand is prima-facie evidence of a 
transfer. A drive usually consisted of 600 cattle, as large a 
number as it is convenient to manage. It may be conceived 
that the labor of gathering and confining in pens so many wild 
cattle, many of which see no human face in a twelvemonth, is 
not slight. In fact, a drive calls out all a man's energy, adroit- 
ness, perseverance, and horsemanship. 

Except during the driving season, there was very little to do. 
Once every month or two they rode through the range, driving 
in the cattle that were ranging wide. In spite of rogues and ac- 
cidents of all sorts, the increase was very rapid. Cows are never 
sold, except as part of a " stock," so that the herd enlarges in 
compound ratio. 

Among the drawbacks are insects and bogs. In a dry and 
cold winter, when the feed is exceedingly poor, the cattle seek 
the low grounds near the mouths of bayous or on the sea-shore, 
where the old grass is more rank and less eaten, and sometimes 
perish in considerable numbers in the mire. At the end of sum- 
mer, flies become a very severe annoyance, driving the cattle 
almost mad with pain and loss of blood. " Ticks," too, some- 
times make very bad wounds, clustering together, and rilling them- 
selves with blood, until they drop, like bunches of grapes, from 
the neck, leaving flayed ulcers, in which blow-flies lay their eggs. 
This takes place frequently in the ears of horses, producing a 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 371 

cicatrix, winch gives a singular twist to the ear, horses having 
which are termed " gochecl." " Oat" cattle are less liable to be 
troubled by these insects than the u gentled," probably because 
they frequent timber less, remaining in the open prairies. Calves 
occasionally suffer so much as to die. We were told, upon the 
Sabine, that horses sometimes succumbed to attacks of insects, in 
hauling cotton through the bad roads of the bottom. For cat- 
tle, nothing is done, but horses are sometimes driven in, and 
smeared with sulphur ointment, which gives a temporary relief. 

The herdsman's sales are of steers, which are sent to market 
at four years old. The beef is considered better at five years, 
but the profit to the herdsman less. In early summer, after the 
cattle are in good condition with the spring pasture, drovers 
make their appearance for the purchase. A contract is made, by 
which, at a price agreed upon, the herdsman shall deliver a cer- 
tain number of beeves, in marketable order, at a point where it 
will be convenient to add them to the drove for New Orleans. 
The range is then scoured, and the requisite number obtained, 
including all steers found that have escaped the previous years. 
The price of steers was now $15 to $18 ; that of " stock-cat- 
tle," $6 ; that of working oxen, $50 to $75 per yoke. 

No pains were here taken to improve the breed. Some cows 
had been brought to this region from the States, but did not do 
well. Their calves, however, became acclimated, and were much 
superior to the common prairie stock. 

Attempts to introduce sheep had always failed. Our host had 
purchased a flock of fifty, which was now reduced, by attacks of 
wolves and other accidents — all resulting, as he confessed, from 
lazy neglect — to eighteen. He owned a considerable herd of 
horses, American and Spanish mares, irom which he supplied 



372 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

himself with the large number required in stock driving. The 
colts were usually caught for the first time, and broken at four 
years old. The process is a summary one. 

Two colts which had been brought in, for the first time, dur- 
ing the day's drive, were taken from the pen after supper, and 
introduced to the saddle and bridle as follows. A lasso was first 
thrown over the neck, the colt hauled to a tree — excited and re- 
sisting with all his power — and closely blindfolded. A bridle, 
without bit, was buckled on, a blanket and saddle strapped to 
his back. The blind was then removed, and the rope slackened. 
The colt is frantic at the indignity, rears, bounds, kicks, and 
rolls, until every muscle trembles. If he lies down, he is 
whipped up until thoroughly fatigued. He is then hauled in 
again, blinded, led out upon the open prairie, and mounted by 
the best young man that volunteers. The saddle is Spanish, and 
has attached to the pommel a strong wooden bar, rolled in 
sheepskin, extending across the thighs of the rider, almost bolt- 
ing him to the animal. The blind is now removed, and then 
comes a scene. 

What muscle and wit the colt has in him are put to the test 
against the tenacity of the rider. Every antic conceivable is 
played, and when these are exhausted without avail, the pair fly 
off at a mad gallop, urged on from behind by a horseman with a 
whip, and led, if possible, by a second towards the safe open 
country. The pluck and wind of the colt are soon known ; and 
after an hour, more or less, of absence, he comes walking back, 
peaceable and dejected. 

The only accident feared, is a sudden halt and somerset, on 
the part of the colt, which very rarely happens. The proprie- 
tor had once been crushed and stunned in this way. He was 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 373 

found upon the prairie sitting upon the neck of the colt, looking 
stupidly about. When asked what he was doing, he replied, 
" holding the horse down." He was able to remount and ride 
home, but could never remember what had occurred after leaving 
the others at a gallop. His eldest son had been seriously 
injured the year before in the same manner. 

The horses, like the cattle, were of a mixed and inferior 
stock. They are mostly undersized, shaggy, vicious, narrow in 
chest, and low in haunch, like the Mexican and mustang, but, by 
hereditary education, tough and hardy. They are sold here at 
from $25 to $40. 

We were, shown to a crowded loft to sleep, with an apology 
for the absence of side-boarding under the roof, " it was so diffi- 
cult to procure lumber." It had been previously mentioned that 
there were three steam saw-mills within twelve miles. It was not 
the ventilation, however, but the insatiate bugs, of which we 
found reason to complain. We rose exhausted at daylight, and 
were led, as usual, to the common wash-basin upon the gallery. 
After our ablutions therein, and a sparing use of the one common 
napkin, we were incidentally informed that the family were recov- 
ering from an epidemic of purulent ophthalmia. After breakfast, a 
child, suffering with the disease, was led out and administered, by 
force, a dose, of which spirits of turpentine was a principal ingre- 
dient, with the promise of whisky and candy, both which it 
immediately afterwards received. 

Our course was pointed out to us across eight or ten miles 
of grass, to the next timber, the trail being so obscured by 
the intricate branches of cattle-paths, as to be of no guiding 
value. 



374 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

LIBERTY COUNTY. 

The Trinity bottoms, opposite Liberty, are about four miles 
in width, filled with the most luxuriant and varied growth of 
wood we had seen, amongst it the palmetto, the magnolia, in 
bloom, and, in greatest number, immense cotton-woods. 

Liberty is a stunted hamlet, a short mile east of the river, 
which is said to be permanently navigable to this point ; but we 
learned that, except two, which lay aground a few miles below, 
no boats had made their appearance this year. In conversation, 
we were informed that the country was retrograding rather than 
improving — an old class of planters gradually disappearing, leav- 
ing their places to be occupied by graziers. But the Trinity 
bottoms, higher up, were being constantly settled — more negroes 
having been taken there this season than ever before. 

Upon the borders of the prairies about here are many Creole 
French, who came in from Louisiana during the early days of 
the Republic. They were then in good circumstances, but 
have now fallen into poverty, owing chiefly, it is said, to in- 
judicious speculations in land. A gentleman told us he had 
often seen Galveston merchants leave the town with a gang of 
ten or fifteen negroes, taken in satisfaction of debt from these 
French planters. Prairie land has very little value ; when a sale 
is made, it is at about fifty cents an acre. The cheapness 
of land and the facility of access from Galveston attract 
many Germans here ; but, it was said, that bilious diseases made 
havoc among them — " they don't have no showing to live 
at all here." Even the Americans acknowledged a great deal of 
" chills and fever," but seemed to think the Germans were served 
about right for living without bacon, and eating trash, such as 
" fresh fish and ripe cucumbers f" 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 375 

. From the Trinity to the Neches the face of the country was 
the same. It is as beautiful, perhaps, as an uncultivated flat can 
be, the prairies being pleasantly broken by islands and large 
masses of wood ; pine and oak predominating, but cypresses, gums, 
and magnolias appearing in thafbayou bottoms, as the banks of the 
sluggish brooks are here called. It is occupied by graziers, who 
rarely raise corn enough to " bread them." They cannot well be 
nearer one another without the adoption of some different system 
of living, and are generally squatters — -partly because of the 
vagueness of land-titles in the region, land, where it has any im- 
proved value, being often claimed under old Spanish grants. A 
claim of forty leagues (nearly 275 square miles) had lately been 
confirmed by the courts, and the occupied lands taken by a 
stranger. The predominant soil is sandy, usually overcharged 
with water, bearing a rank but very coarse grass, mixed with useless 
weeds. Though the heat was now sweltering at midday, we were 
not much troubled w r ith flies, and the traveling might be called 
agreeable, but somewhat tame, no incident serving to mark the 
level hours, more remarkable than that of "making" a distant 
belt of timber, passing it, and leaving it behind. Our horses 
grew tired of the monotony, and strained eye and ear continually 
towards the distance, hoping at last to arrive somewhere, and 
having, perhaps, an instinct that their incessant march w 7 as soon 
to terjninate. 

SOUR LAKE. 

Near the western limit of Jefferson county is the odd natural 
phenomenon of a "fountain of lemonade." The supply is abun- 
dant, and a barrack has been built for summer visitors, who fre- 
quent the spring for the relief of every variety of disease — a cure, 
provided the use of the waters be sufficiently persevered in, be- 



376 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ing guaranteed by the proprietor. There are, certainly, attractions 
in the cool shade, the gulf-breeze, the agreeable beverage, and 
the limpid bath, that should draw a throng, were the spot made 
accessible. There are two springs, of cold, clear, acid, slightly 
astringent water, boiling with the outburst of an inflammable gas, 
having a slight odor of sulphuretted hydrogen. The overflow 
forms a pond of an acre in extent, which gives to the locality its 
name of " Sour Lake." Upon the banks and bottom is a deposit 
of sulphur. The approach to the rude bathing-houses is over a 
boggy margin, sending up a strong bituminous odor, upon pools 
in which rises a dense brown, transparent liquid, described as 
having the properties of the Persian and Italian naphthas. 

A BOTTOM BOGGLE. 

At Beaumont we were told that the tide was up in the Neches 
bottoms, and that we should find the road " pretty wet." It was 
not, however, intimated that we should meet with any great diffi- 
culty. The aspect of things from the ferry-boat, therefore, a 
little surprised us, the bank on which we were landed — some ten 
feet in width — being the only earth visible above the turbid 
water. Our directions were, to follow up the course of the 
stream for about a mile, as far as a certain " big tree," then to 
bear to the right, and three miles w r ould take us clear of the bot- 
tom. At certain spots, where the logs of the corduroy had 
floated away, we were cautioned to avoid the road, and pick a 
way for ourselves, wherever we found best footing. 

The forest was dense, and filled with all manner of vines and 
rank undergrowth ; the road was a vague opening, where obstruct- 
ing trees had been felled, the stumps and rotten trunks remaining. 
Across actual quags a track of logs and saplings had been laid, 






ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 377 

but long ago, now rotten and in broken patches. As far as 
the eye could reach, muddy water, sent back by a south wind 
from the gulf, extended over the vast flat before us, to a depth 
of from two to six feet, as per immediate personal measurement. 
We spurred in. 

One foot : 

Two feet, with hard bottom : 

Belly-deep, hard bottom : 

Shoulder-deep, soft bottom : 

Shoulder-deep, with a sucking mire : 

The same, with a network of roots, in which a part of the legs 
are entangled, while the rest are plunging. 

The same, with a middle ground of loose poles ; a rotten log, 
on which we rise dripping, to slip forward next moment, head 
under, haunches in air. It is evident we have reached one of the 
spots it would have been better to avoid. 

The horses, reluctant and excited from the first, become furi- 
ous and wild. At the next shoal — personal nastiness being 
past consideration — we dismount, at knee-deep, to give them a 
moment's rest, shifting the mule's saddle to the trembling 
long-legged mare, and turning Mr. Brown loose, to follow as he 
could. 

After a breathing-spell we resume our splashed seats and the 
line of wade. Experience has taught us something, and we are 
more shrewd in choice of footing, the slopes around large trees 
being attractively high ground, until, by a stumble on a cover- 
ed root, a knee is nearly crushed against a cypress trunk. Gul- 
lies now commence, cut by the rapid course of waters flowing off 
before north winds, in which it is good luck to escape instant 
drowning. Then quag again ; the pony bogs ; the mare, quiver- 



378 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

ing and unmanageable, jumps sidelong among loose corduroy ; 
and here are two riders standing waist-deep in mud and water 
between two frantic, plunging horses, fortunately not beneath 
them. 

Nack soon extricates himself, and joins the mule, looking on 
terrified from behind. 

Fanny, delirious, believes all her legs broken and strewn about 
her, and falls, with a whining snort, upon her side. With inces- 
sant struggles she makes herself a mud bath, in which, with 
blood-shot eyes, she furiously rotates, striking, now and then, 
some stump, against which she rises only to fall upon the other 
side, or upon her back, until her powers are exhausted, and her 
head sinks beneath the surface. Mingled with our uppermost 
sympathy are thoughts of the soaked note-books, and other con- 
tents of the saddle-bags, and of the hundred dollars that drown 
with her. What of dense soil there was beneath her is now 
stirred to porridge, and it is .a dangerous exploit to approach. 
But, with joined hands, we at length succeed in grappling her 
bridle, and then in hauling her nostrils above water. She revives 
only for a new tumult of dizzy pawing, before which we hastily 
retreat. At a second pause her lariat is secured, and the saddle 
cut adrift. For a half^hour the alternate resuscitation continues, 
until we are able to drag the head of the poor beast, half stran- 
gled by the rope, as well as the mud aud water, toward firmer 
ground, where she recovers slowly her senses and her footing. 

Any farther attempts at crossing the somewhat " wet" Neches 
bottoms are, of course, abandoned, and even the return to the 
ferry is a serious sort of joke. However, we congratulate our- 
selves that we are leaving, not entering the State, by this lower 
road, as such a prolonged immersion, during a December sleet- 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 379 

storm, might have had more serious consequences than the same 
bedraggled soaking in May. The ferry-man receives us and our 
second payment of six dimes with a dry nod, that indicates that he 
considers his advice to us, to try the bottoms, as a good investment, 
for a man born no nearer Connecticut than the banks of Tennessee 
river. After a day of scraping, rinsing, wringing out, and dry- 
ing, at the very tolerable little village hotel, we make a new start, 
toward a ferry six miles higher up the stream, where the passage 
is effected without especial trouble. 

Our horses being much jaded, we made, before leaving Beau- 
mont, an exchange, by which Mr. Brown was left to the pleasant 
business of guiding future travelers through the bottoms, and 
Fanny to the quiet and restorative condition of a prairie brood 
mare, while we acquired a fresh, lusty, good-natured American 
stallion, who went satisfactorily through his task of a thousand 
hot and dusty summer miles, among the hills and valleys that 
lie between the Mississippi and the Atlantic slopes. 

Alas, poor Nack ! The dear little brute was sold, a few days 
later, for twenty-six dollars, and I hardly know what to regret 
most, the necessary parting, the pitiful price, or the ruthless 
stable-man's hands, into which he fell. A solemn promise 
that he should have a month's vacation, and free range of a beau- 
tiful unfenced prairie, gave formal salvo to our conscience, but 
affection still upbraids us for the mercenary separation from our 
faithful companion. Flesh and blood were never made for cash 
investments. 

As for Judy, the terrier, the wet country had proved for her a 
great relief. Her ulcerated paws had been carefully covered 
with moccasins, and, from the beginning of the marshy country, 
daily improved, until she was able to accomplish the rare canine 



3S0 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

feat of over two thousand miles of steady travel. A day's pause 
was now to the tired creature a priceless boon, spent in a rest that 
was no less than intense. Selecting the quietest nook, she would 
coil herself with great deliberation, and for hour after hour not 
so much as move a muscle ; immersed in a terrier's sleep, the tip 
of an eyelid never unlifted. I shall not soon forget her appear- 
ance in the Neches bottom. She was very averse — being any- 
thing but a water-dog — to enter at all ; but seeing herself aban- 
doned, as we waded away, jumped, with a yelp, into the water, 
and swam for the nearest stump ; and so followed, alternately 
submerged in silence and mounted, with a series of dripping 
howls, upon these rotten pedestals. 

For ourselves, we had derived less physical advantage, from 
our two thousand miles of active exposure, than we had buoy- 
antly anticipated. The abominable diet, and the fatigue, some- 
times relatively too severe, had served to null the fresh benefits 
of pure air and stimulating travel. Lungs, oppressed at home, 
played, perhaps, a little more freely ; but the frame had not 
absorbed the sanguine sturdiness that should enable it to resist 
subtle tendencies, and get itself rudely superior to circum- 
stances. 

In this low district, the hot, soggy breath of the approaching 
summer was extremely depressing ; so much so, as to cause me 
once a fall from the saddle in faint exhaustion. I retained con- 
sciousness enough to loose the lariat and wind it upon my arm ; 
but, as such loitering was not unfrequent, this was not observed, 
and I lay half an hour alone, face to the ground, hardly breath- 
ing, and unable to speak. 

But, to a pulmonary invalid, who can throw off cares, and 
who has any recuperative elasticity in him, I can recommend 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 3S1 

nothing more heartily than a winter's ride or sporting trip upon 
the Texan prairies. For many a case of incipient phthisis, such 
a course would be the nearest to specific. With money and 
sufficient pains-taking, it is possible to command a wholesome 
diet ; with clothing and patience, the northers are easily endured. 
I believe our experience of them to have been unusually severe ; 
but it is remarkable that, owing, perhaps, to some peculiar pro- 
perty of the air from the dry plains, we did not once take cold 
in them, nor ever suffer anything worse than inconvenience. Six 
months of leisurely prairie-life, along the pure mountain streams 
of the West, would, for many a man, now hacking away at his 
young tubercles in hot rooms, and a weary routine of business, 
double not only the length but the enjoyable value of life, and 
at no greater outlay than the sum of his medical bills. 

OUT OF TEXAS. 

Our road, as far as the Sabine, lay through a district of poorer 
and more sandy soil, thickly wooded with pine, having small and 
unfrequent w T et prairies. Although rain was much needed for 
crops, we estimated that one-eighth of the surface was covered 
by water in stagnant pools. We passed, on both sides the 
Sabine, many abandoned farms, and the country is but thinly 
settled. We found it impossible to obtain information about 
roads, and frequently w^ent astray upon cattle-paths, once losing- 
twenty miles in a day's journey. The people were still herds- 
men, cultivating a little cotton upon river-banks, but ordinarily 
only corn, with a patch of cane to furnish household sugar. We 
tried in vain to purchase corn for our horses, and were told that 
" folks didn't make corn enough to bread them, and if anybody 
had corn to give his horse, he carried it in his hat and went out 



382 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

behind somewhere." The herds were in poor condition, and 
must in winter be reduced to the verge of starvation. We saw 
a few hogs, converted by hardship to figures so unnatural, that 
we at first took them for goats. Most of the people we met, 
were old emigrants, from Southern Louisiana and Mississippi, 
and more disposed to gayety and cheer than the Texan planters. 
The houses showed a tendency to Louisiana forms, and the 
table to a French style of serving the jerked beef, which is the 
general dish of the country. The meat is dried in strips, over 
smoky fires, and, if untainted and well prepared, is a tolerably 
savory food. I hardly know whether to chronicle it as a border 
barbarism, or a Creolism, that we were several times, in this 
neighborhood, shown to a bed standing next to that occupied by 
the host and his wife, sometimes with the screen of a shawl, 
sometimes without. 

We met with one specimen of the Virginia habit of " dipping," 
or snuff-chewing, in the person of a woman who was otherwise 
neat and agreeable, and observed that a young lady, well-dressed, 
and apparently engaged, while we were present, in reading, went 
afterward to light her pipe at the kitchen fire, and had a smoke 
behind the house. 

The condition of the young men appeared to incline decidedly 
to barbarism. We stopped a night at a house in which a drover, 
bringing mules from Mexico, was staying ; and, with the neigh- 
bors who had come to look at the drove, we were thirteen men 
at table. When speaking with us, all were polite and respectful, 
the women especially so ; but among one another, their coarse- 
ness was incredible. The master of the house, a well-known 
gentleman of the county, came after supper upon the gallery 
and commenced cursing furiously, because some one had taken 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 383 

his pipe. Seeing us, he stopped, and after lighting the pipe said, 
"Where are you from, gentlemen!" 

" From Beaumont, sir, last." 

"Been out West ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"Traveling?" 

"Yes, sir." 

After pausing a moment to make up his mind— 

" Where do you live when you are at home, gentlemen, and 
what's your business in this country!" 

" We live in New York, and are traveling to see the country." 

"How do you like it?" 

"Just here we find it flat and wet." 

" What's your name?" 

" Olmsted." 

"And what's this gentleman's name?" 

" Olmsted." 

" Is it a Spanish name ?" 

" No, sir." 

He then abruptly left us, and the young men entertained one 
another with stories of fights and horse-trades, and with vulgar 
obscenities. 

Shortly he returned, saying — 

"Show you to bed now, gentlemen, if you wish?" 

" We are ready, sir, if you will be good enough to get a light." 

"Alight?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"A light?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Get a light?" 



334 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Yes, sir." 

"Well, Til get one." 

On reaching the bed-room, which was in a building adjoining, 
he stood awaiting our pleasure. Thanking him, I turned to 
take the light, but found his ringers were the candlestick. He 
continued to hold it, and six young men, who had followed us, 
stood grouped around while we undressed, placing our clothes 
upon the floor. Judy advanced to lie down by them. One of 
the young men started forward, and said — 

"I've got a right good knife." 

"What?" 

"I've got a right good knife, if you want it." 

" What do you mean ?" 

" Nothing, only I've got a right good knife, and if you'd like 
to kill that dog, I'll lend it to you." 

" Please to tell me what you mean?" 

" Oh, nothing." 

" Keep your dog quiet, or I'll kill her," I suppose was the inter- 
pretation. When we had covered ourselves in bed, the host said — 

" I suppose you dont want the light no more?" 

" No, sir ;" and all bade us good-night, but, leaving the door 
open, commenced feats of prolonged dancing, or stamping upon 
the gallery, which were uproariously applauded. Then came more 
obscenities and profanities, apropos to fandango frolics described 
by the drovers. As w 7 e had barely got to sleep, several came to 
occupy other beds in our room. They had been drinking freely, 
and continued smoking in bed. 

Upon the floor lay two boys of fourteen, who continued shout- 
ing and laughing after the others had at length become quiet. 
Some one soon said to one of them — 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 385 

" You had better stop your noise ; Frank says he'll be damn'd 
if he don't come in and give you a hiding." 

Frank was trying to sleep upon the gallery. 

" By God," the boy cried, raising himself, and drawing a coat 
from under the pillow, " if he comes in here, I'll be damn'd if I 
don't kill him. He dare not come in here. I would like to see 
him come in here," drawing from his coat pocket a revolver, and 
cocking it. " By God, you may come in here now. Come in 
here, come in here ! Do you hear that ?' 5 revolving the pistol 
rapidly. " God damn me, if I don't kill you, if you come near 
the door." 

This continued without remonstrance for some time, when he 
lay down, asking his companion for a light for his pipe, and con- 
tinuing the noisy conversation until we fell asleep. The pre- 
vious talk had been much of knife and pistol fights which had 
taken place in the county. The same boy was obliging and 
amiable next morning, assisting us to bring in and saddle the 
horses at our departure. 

One of the men here was a Yankee, who had lived so long 
in the Slave States that he had added to his original ruralisms a 
very complete collection of Southernisms, some of which were 
of the richest we met with. He had been in the Texas Ran- 
gers, and, speaking of the West, said he had been up round the 
head of the Guadalupe " heaps and cords of times," at the 
same time giving us a very picturesque account of the county. 
Speaking of wolves, he informed us that on the San Jacinto 
there were " any dimensions of them." Obstinacy, in his voca- 
bulary, w T as represented by a damnation cussedness." He was 
unable to conceive of us in any other light than as two ped- 
dlers who had mistaken their ground in coming here. 
17 



386 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

At another house where we stopped (in which, by the way, 
we eat our supper by the light of pine knots blazing in the chim- 
ney, with an apology for the absence of candles), we heard some 
conversation upon a negro of the neighborhood, who had been 
sold to a free negro, and who refused to live with him, saying he 
wouldn't be a servant to a nigger. All agreed that he was right, 
although the man was well known to be kind to his negroes, and 
w T ould always sell any of them who wished it. The slave had 
been sold because he wouldn't mind. " If I had a negro that 
wouldn't mind," said the woman of the house, "I'd break his 
head, or I'd sell him. I wouldn't have one about me." Her 
own servant was standing behind her. " I do think it would be 
better if there wasn't any niggers in the world, they do behave 
so bad, some of 'em. They steal just like hogs." 

We inquired about the free negroes of whom they were speak- 
ing, and were told that there were a number in the county, all 
mulattoes, who had come from Louisiana. Some of them owned 
many negroes, and large stocks. There were some white people, 
good-for-nothing people, that married in with them, but they 
couldn't live in Texas after it ; all went over into Louisiana. 
They knew of no law excluding free negroes from the State; if 
there were any such law, no one here cared for it. 

This county has been lately the scene of events, which prove 
that it must have contained a much larger number of free 
negroes and persons of mixed blood than we were informed on 
the spot, in spite of the very severe statute forbidding their 
introduction, which has been backed by additional legislative 
penalties in 1856. Banded together, they have been able to 
resist the power, not only of the legal authorities, but of a local 
" Vigilance Committee," which gave them a certain number of 






ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 387 

hours to leave the State, and a guerrilla of skirmishes and murders 
has been carried on for many months, upon the banks of the 
Sabine, with the revival of the old names of " Moderators and 
[Regulators, " of the early Texans. 

The feud appears to have commenced with the condemnation, 
by a justice of the peace, of a free mulatto, named Samuel 
Ashworth, to receive twenty-five lashes, on a charge of malicious 
killing of his neighbor's hogs, and of impertinent talking. The 
Ashworths were a rich mulatto family, settled in Texas in the 
earliest days of the Eepublic, and exempted by special mention 
from the operation of the law forbidding residence to free 
negroes. They are now three and four generations removed 
from black blood, and have had a reputation for great hospitality, 
keeping open house for all who call. The member of the fami- 
ly who was condemned to the indignity of being publicly whip- 
ped, rose upon his guard while in the hands of the sheriff, and 
escaped. In a few days after, he returned with a mulatto com- 
panion, and shot the man on whose testimony he was con- 
demned. Upon this the Vigilance Committee was organized, 
and the sheriff, who was suspected of connivance at the escape 
of Ashworth, and all the Ashworth family with their relatives 
and supporters, summoned to leave the county on pain of death. 
On the other hand, all free men of color on the border, to the 
number of one hundred and fifty, or more, joined with a few 
whites and Spaniards, formed an organized band, and defied the 
Committee, 'and then ensued a series of assassinations, burnings 
of houses and saw-mills, and open fights. The Moderators, or 
Committee-men, became strong enough to range the county, and 
demand that every man, capable of bearing arms, should join 
them, or quit the county on pain of death. This increased the 



SS8 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

resistance and the bloody retaliation, and, at the last accounts, 
they were laying regular siege to the house of a family who had 
refused to join them. Thirty families had been compelled to 
leave the county, and murders were still occurring every week. 
Among those killed were two strangers, traveling through the 
county ; also the deputy sheriff, and the sheriff himself, who was 
found concealed under the floor of a lonely house, with a quan- 
tity of machinery for the issue of false money, and instantly shot : 
the proprietor of the house, defending himself, revolver in hand, 
fell pierced with many balls. The aid of the military power of 
the State had been invoked by the legal authorities ; but the 
issue I have not seen in the newspapers. 

CATTLE CROSSING AT THE SABINE. 

We arrived, without serious difficulty from swamps, at the west 
bank of the Sabine, but with soft splashing and floundering 
enough to recall our wetting at the Neches, and render us ex- 
tremely reluctant to enter the road across three miles of low 
bottom on the other side. For my own part, so disagreeable a 
sensation, in memory, was that of the sinking of a horse under 
one, in soft mud under water, until his control over himself is 
lost, that I would have been ready to embark in the first chicken 
boat for New Orleans, rather than undertake a second wade like 
that one. But there was no alternative. 

There came to the ferry, at the same moment, a drove of 
mules, and we were curious to see the operation of crossing 
them. They were first herded in a high-fenced pen upon the 
shore. After we had crossed, the ferry-man returned in a small 
skiff, and led into the water a horse accustomed to the work, who 
was held by the bridle to swim behind the boat, as she receded 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 389 

from the shore. The mules were then driven on with loud 
shouts and charges from behind, and the foremost being pushed 
over the bank, on taking to the water, naturally, after a moment's 
hesitation, followed the horse before them. Men are stationed 
above and below, to frighten off any who attempt to turn back, 
and others have the same duty on the opposite side. It is a 
moment of anxiety ; for, should the drove go up or down the 
stream, or simply insist, through fright or obstinacy, in landing 
above or below the wings of the pen in which they are received, 
the greater part would be lost in the swamp forever. 

We learned upon the other side, that it was practicable " to 
take long ferriage," and avoid the bottom almost entirely, by 
pulling the ferry-boat an hour or two up the stream, to a bluff 
which the road touched. But, although we were willing to pay 
the regular charge of four dollars, the ferryman, having an idle 
turn, refused to gratify us, and we were forced to engage a pilot 
to take us out by the saddle channel. Following him closely, 
we were soon upon dry ground, without so much as bedraggled 
skirts. The pilot was also paid by the drover, whose mules came 
behind without accident. 

The drover considered the Neches bottoms to be in better con- 
dition than usual, at present. He had crossed them twice with- 
in a year, when he was obliged to swim the horse he rode no 
inconsiderable part of the way. Once he had horses which he 
got over without loss. 

The second time, he had cattle, and had engaged twelve extra 
hands to assist him, at three dollars each. Nineteen of the cat- 
tle bogged, and he lost them ; for, if these wild prairie cattle are 
left behind or become separated from the drove, they can never 
be driven. There is danger that they will drive the drivers. 



390 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

THE DROVER'S STORY. 

" I had a splendid pony that trip — a large, powerful pony I 
called Crockett. When those nineteen beeves bogged, Crockett 
bogged in behind them. There were two other men near me, 
one of them on horseback and the other on foot, trying to 
drive up the bogged cattle. Crockett was in clear up to his 
withers. Of course, I got off. The mud was about knee-deep, 
and the water was up to my breast. Among the beeves that 
were bogged, there was one big old ox that got fiery mad, and 
he struggled out and turned round and made at the man on the 
horse, and that was right towards me. 'For God's sake,' says I, 
6 turn off and get your horse tother side of the tree ; if he comes 
this way he'll kill me, or, if he don't, he'll kill Crockett, sure,' for 
Crockett and I were both bogged, and couldn't get out of his 
way. The man turned his horse and got him to one side ; but 
then he saw the man who was on foot. He was a Dutch fellow 
named Christian — a great big man, six foot, and very fat and 
heavy. He was very strong and active, though — a great deal 
more than you'd think, to look at him — and a first-rate fellow. 

"Well, when the ox took sight of Christian, he put after 
him, and you ought to've seen them two ! I couldn t help laugh- 
ing then, though I had nineteen beeves bogged down and my 
best horse, and I was bogged in myself, and didn't know how soon 
he'd turn at me. I couldn't help laughing, for all, to see them two 
dig. Christian, he was working for his life, and the ox was fiery 
mad and putting in with all his might ; but they were both belly- 
deep in mud, and though they both laid down all they had in 'em, 
they'd ha' made about as good time if they'd had all their legs 
sawed off. Finally, he got to a tree, and hauled himself up before 
the ox got to him, and then it struck off into the swamp." 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 391 

"And what became of the rest?" 

" Oh, we had to push on and leave 'em there." 

" You got Crockett out, then ?" 

" Yes ; let him rest awhile, and then he worked himself out — 
a good horse almost always will." 

" And what became of the cattle you left V 9 

" God knows. They got off into the swamp, I suppose, after 
awhile. There's lots of beef cattle that stray off so from a 
drove, and are never recovered." 

" As nobody owns these cattle but the drover, and they are 
all branded so nobody else will claim them, and he never comes 
after them, I suppose they live out the natural life of beef- 
cattle." 

" I suppose so." 

WESTERN LOUISIANA. 

Soon after crossing the Sabine, we entered a " hummock," or 
tract of more fertile, oak-bearing land, known as the Big Woods. 
The soil is not rich, but produces cotton, in good seasons nearly 
a bale to the acre, and the limited area is fully occupied. Upon 
one plantation we found an intelligent emigrant from Mississippi, 
who had just bought the place, having stopped on his way into 
Texas, because the time drew near for the confinement of his 
wife. Many farms are bought by emigrants, he said, from such 
temporary considerations : a child is sick, or a horse exhausted ; 
they stop for a few weeks ; but summer comes, and they con- 
clude to put in a crop, and often never move again. 

It was before reaching the Big Woods, that alligator-holes 
were first pointed out to us, with a caution to avoid them. 
They extend from an aperture, obliquely, under ground to a 



392 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

large cavern, the walls of which are puddled by the motions of 
the animal ; and, being partly filled with water, form a comfort- 
able amphibious residence. A horseman is liable, not only to 
breaking through near the orifice, but to being precipitated into 
the den itself, where he will find awaiting him, a disagreeable 
mixture of mire and angry jaws. In the deep water of the bot- 
toms, we met with no snakes ; but the pools were everywhere 
alive with them. We saw a great variety of long-legged birds, 
apparently on friendly terms with all the reptiles. 

A day's journey took us through the Big Woods, and across 
the Calcasieu to Lake Charles. We were not prepared to find 
the Calcasieu a superb and solemn river, two hundred and thirty 
yards across and forty-five feet deep. It is navigable for forty 
miles, but at its mouth has a bar, on which is sometimes only 
eighteen inches water, ordinarily thirty inches. Schooners of 
light draft ascend it, bringing supplies, and taking out the cotton 
raised within its reach. Lake Charles is an insignificant village, 
upon the bank of a pleasant, clear lakelet, several miles in extent. 

From the Big Woods to Opelousas, there was no change in 
the monotonous scenery. Everywhere extended the immense 
moist plain, bearing alternate tracts of grass and pine. .Nearer 
Opelousas, oak appears in groups with the pine, and the soil is 
darker and more fertile. Here the land was mostly taken up, 
partly by speculators, in view of the Opelousas Kailway, then 
commenced. But, in all the western portion of the district, the 
land is still government property, and many of the people squat- 
ters. Sales are seldom made, but the estimated price of the 
land is fifty cents an acre. It is of no value, except as range for 
herds, and is as thickly settled as it can profitably be, for this 
purpose. 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 393 

The herds here are principally of horses, which are of the 
kind known as " Creole ponies/' descended from Norman and 
Arabian blood, and more valuable than the Spanish stock of 
Texas, being more intelligent, less vicious, and better formed ; 
but so small as to be suitable only for the saddle. They are 
valued at from twenty to sixty dollars, the wilder and more 
neglected herds being of inferior development. 

Some of the timbered land, for a few years after clearing, 
yields good crops of corn and sweet potatoes. Cotton is seldom 
attempted, and sugar only for family use. Oats are sometimes 
grown, but the yield is small, and seldom thrashed from the 
straw. We noted one field of poor rye. So wet a region and 
so warm a climate suggest rice, and, were the land sufficiently 
fertile, it would, doubtless, become a staple production. It is 
now only cultivated for home use, the bayou bottoms being rude- 
ly arranged for flowing the crop. But, without manure, no pro- 
fitable return can be obtained from breaking the prairie, and the 
only system of manuring in use is that of plowing up occasion- 
ally the cow-pens of the herdsmen. 

The management of cattle is the same here as in Texas, the 
laws slightly varying in respect to unbranded yearlings, which 
are subjected to what is termed the " Congress brand," or mark 
of the parish, and are sold at auction for the public benefit. But 
in practice they are usually branded by the first comer, though 
the penalty is severe. The price of beef cattle was twenty dol- 
lars; of cows about the same; that of "stock-cattle," ten 
dollars. The numbers of the last are roughly calculated, by 
multiplying by three the total of calves branded in the year. 

The road was now distinctly marked enough, but had frequent 

and embarrassing forks, which occasioned us almost as much an- 
17* 



394 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

noyance as the clouds of musquitoes which, east of the Sabine, 
hovered continually about our horses and our heads. Notions 
of distance we found incredibly vague. At Lake Charles we 
were informed that the exact distance to Opelousas was ninety- 
six miles. After riding eight hours, we were told by a respecta- 
ble gentleman that the. distance from his house was one hundred 
and twenty miles. The next evening the distance was forty 
miles, and the following evening a gentleman who met us stated 
first that it was " a good long way," next that it was "thirty 
or forty miles, and clamn'd long ones, too." About four miles 
beyond him, we reached the twentieth mile-post 

Across the bayous of any size, bridges had been constructed, 
but so rudely built of logs that the traveler, where possible, left 
them for a ford. 

The people, after passing the frontier, changed in every promi- 
nent characteristic. - French became the prevailing language, and 
French the prevailing manners. The gruff Texan bidding, " Sit 
up, stranger, take some fry!" became a matter of recollection, 
of which " Monsieur, la soupe est servie," was the smooth sub- 
stitute. The good-nature of the people was an incessant aston- 
ishment. If we inquired the way, a contented old gentleman 
waddled out and showed us also his wife's house-pet, an im- 
mense white crane, his big crop of peaches, his old fig-tree, 
thirty feet in diameter of shade, and to his wish of "ban 
voyage" added for each a bouquet of the jessamines we were 
admiring. The homes were homes, not settlements on specula- 
tion ; the house, sometimes of logs, it is true, but hereditary 
logs, and more often of smooth lumber, with deep and spreading 
galleries on all sides for the coolest comfort. For form, all ran 
or tended to run to a peaked and many-chimneyed centre, with, 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 395 

Lore and there, a suggestion of a dormar window. Not all were 
provided with figs and jessamines, but each had some inclosure 
betraying good intentions. 

AMONG THE CREOLES. 

The monotonous landscape did not invite to loitering, and we 
passed but three nights in houses by the road. The first was 
that of an old Italian-French emigrant, known as " Old Man 
Corse." He had a name of his own, which he recalled for us, 
but in forty years it had been lost and superseded by this de- 
signation, derived from his birth-place, the island of Corsica. 
This mixture of nationalities in language must be breeding for 
future antiquaries a good deal of amusing labor. Next day we 
were recommended to stop at Jack Bacon's, and, although we 
would have preferred to avoid an American's, did so rather 
than go further, and found our Jack Bacon a Creole, named 
Jacques Beguin. This is equal to Tuckapaw and Nakitosh, 
the general pronunciation of Attakapas and Natchitoches. 

The house of Old Man Corse stood in the shade of oaks, figs, 
and cypresses, upon the bank of a little bayou, looking out 
upon the broad prairie. It was large and comfortable, with wide 
galleries and dormar windows, supported by a negro-hut and a 
stable. Ornamental axe-work and rude decorative joinery were 
abundant. The roof was of large split shingles, much warped 
in the sun. As we entered and took seats by the fire, the room 
reminded us, with its big fire-place, and old smoke-stained and 
time-toned cypress beams and ceiling, and its rude but comfort- 
able aspect, of the Acadian fireside : 

" In doors, warm by the wide-mouthed fire-place, idly the farmer 
Sat in his elbow-chair, and watched how the flames and the smoke-wreaths 
Struggled together, like foes in a burning city. Behind him 
Nodding and mocking along the wall, with gestures fantastic, 



396 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Darted bis own huge shadow, and vanished away into darkness, 
Faces, clumsily carved in oak, on the back of his arm-chair, 
Laughed in the flickering light, and the pewter plates on the dresser 
Caught and reflected the flame, as shields of armies the sunshine." 

The tall, elderly, busy housewife bustled about with prepara- 
tions for supper, while we learned that they had been settled 
here forty years, and had never had reason to regret their emi- 
gration. The old man had learned French, but no English. The 
woman could speak some " American," as she properly termed 
it. Asking her about musquitoes, we received a reply in 
French, that they were more abundant some years than others ; 
then, as no quantitative adjective of sufficient force occurred to 
her, she added, " Three years ago, oh ! heaps of musquitoes, sir, 
/leaps ! — worse as now." 

She laid the table to the last item, and prepared everything 
nicely, but called a negro girl to wait upon us. The girl stood" 
quiet behind us, the mistress helping us, and practically antici- 
pating all our wants. 

The supper was of venison, in ragout, with a sauce that sa- 
vored of the south of France ; there was a side-dish of hominy, 
a jug of sweet milk, and wheat-bread in loaf — the first since 
Houston. 

In an evening smoke, upon the settle, we learned that there 
were many Creoles about here, most of whom learned English, 
and had their children taught English at the schools. The 
Americans would not take the trouble to learn French. They 
often intermarried. A daughter of their own was the wife of an 
American neighbor. We asked if they knew of a distinct people 
here called Acadians. Oh yes, they knew many settled in the 
vicinity, descended from some nation that came here in the last 
century. They had now no peculiarities. There were but few 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 397 

free negroes just here, but at Opelousas arid Niggerville there were 
many, some of whom were rich and owned slaves, though a part 
were unmixed black in color. They kept pretty much by them- 
selves, not attempting to enter white society. 

OLD VIRGINIA. 

As we went to look at our horses, two negroes followed us to 
the stable. 

" Dat horse a Tennessee horse, Mass'r," said one. 

" Yes, he was born in Tennessee." 

"Born in Tennessee and raised by a Dutchman," said the 
other, sotto voce, I suppose, quoting a song. 

" Why, were you born in Tennessee ?" I asked. 

" No, sar, I was born in dis State. 

" How comes it you speak English so much better than your 
master?" 

" Ho, ho, my old mass'r, he don' speak it at all ; my missus 
she speak it better'n my mass'r do, but you see I war raised on 
de parara, to der eastward, whar thar's heaps of 'Mericans ; so I 
larned it good." 

He spoke it with a slight accent, while the other, whom he 
called Uncle Tom, I observed did not. I asked Uncle Tom if 
he was born in the State. 

" No, sar, I was born in Yarginny, in ole Yarginny, mass'r. I 

was raised in county [in the west]. I was twenty-two year 

ole when I came away from thar, and I've been in this country 
forty year come next Christmas." 

" Then you are sixty years old." 

"Yes, sar, amos' sixty. But I'd like to go back to Yarginny. 
Ho, ho ! I 'ould like to go back and live in ole Yarginny, again. " 



39S A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Why so ? I thought niggers generally liked this country 
best — I've been told so — because it is so warm here." 

'• Ho, ho ! it's nios' too warm here, sometime, and I can't work 
at my trade here. Sometimes for three months I don' go in my 
shop, on'y Sundays to work for mysef." 

" What is your trade V 9 

"I'm a blacksmith, inass'r. I used to work at blacksmithing 
all the time in ole Virginny, ironin' wagons and shoein' horses 
for the folks that work in the mines. But here, can't get no- 
thun to do. In this here sile, if you sharpen up a plough in the 
spring o' the year, it'll last all summer, and horses don' want 
shoeing once a year here on the parara. I've got a good mass'r 
here, tho' ; the ole man ain't hard on his niggers." 

" Was your master hard in Virginia?" 

"Well, I wos hired to different mass'rs, sar, thar, afore I wos 
sole off. I was sole off to a sheriff's sale, mass'r; I wos sole for 
fifteen hunerd an' fifty dollars ; I fetched that on the block, cash, 
I did, and the man as bought me he brung me down here, and 
sole me for two thousand two hunerd dollars." 

" That was a good price ; a very high price in those days." 

" Yes, sar, it was that — ho, ho, ho ! It was a man by the name 

f ? from Tennessee, what bought me. He made a business 

of goin' roun' and buyin' up people, and bringin' 'em down here, 
speculatin' on 'em. Ho, ho ! he did well that time. But I'd 'a' 
liked it better, for all that, to have stayed in ole Varginny. 'Tain't 
the heat, tho' it's too hot here sometimes, but you know, sar, I wos 
born and raised in Varginny, and seems like 'twould be pleasanter 
to live thar. It's kinder natural to people to hanker arter the 
place they wos raised in. Ho, ho ! I'd like it a heap better, tho' 
this ole mans a good mass'r; never had no better mass'r." 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 399 

"I suppose you became a Catholic after you got here?" 

" Yes, sar" (hesitatingly). 

"I suppose all the people are Catholics here?" 

" Here ? Oh, no, sar ; that was whar I wos first in this here 

country ; they wos ail Catholics there." 

" Well, they are all Catholics here, too — ain't they 1" 

" Here, sar? Here, sar? -Oh, no, sar!" 

" Why, your master is not a Protestant, is he?" 

After two deep groans, he replied in a whisper : 

" Oh, sar, they don' have no meetin' o' no kind roun' here !" 

" There are a good many free negroes in this country, ain't 

there ?" 

" What! here, sar ? Oh, no, sar ; no such good luck as that 

in this country." 

" At Opelousas, I understood, there were a good many." 
" Oh, but them wos born free, sar, under old Spain, sar." 
" Yes, those I mean." 
" Oh, yes, there's lots o' them; some of 'em rich, and some of 

'em — a good many of 'em — goes to the penitentiary — you know 

what that is. White folks goes to the penitently, too — ho ! ho ! 

— sometimes." 

"I have understood many of them were quite rich." 

" Oh, yes, o' course they is ; they started free, and hain't got 

nobody to work for but theirselves ; of course they gets rich. 

Some of 'em owns slaves — heaps of 'em. That ar ain't right." 
" Not right ! why not ?" 
" Why, you don' think it's right for one nigger to own another 

nigger ! One nigger's no business to sarve another. It's bad 

enough to have to sarve a white man without being paid for it, 

without having to sarve a black man." 



400 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

" Don't they treat their slaves well V 9 

"No, sar, they don't. There ain't no nations so bad masters 
to niggers as them free niggers, though there's some, I've heard, 
wos very kind; but — I wouldn't sarve 'em if they wos — no ! — 
Does you live in Tennessee, mass'r V ' 

« No— in New York." 

" There's heaps of Quakers in New York, ain't there, mass'r V 9 

" No — not many." 

" I've always heard there was." 

" In Philadelphia there are a good many." 

" Oh, yes ! in Philadelphia, and in Winchester, and in New 
Jarsey. I know — ho! ho! I've been in those countries, and 
I've seen 'em. I wos raised nigh by Winchester, and I've been 
all about there. Used to iron wagons and shoe horses in that 
country. Dar's a road from Winchester to Philadelphia — right 
straight. Quakers all along. Eight good people, dem Quakers 
— ho ! ho ! — I know." 

We slept in well-barred beds, and awoke long after sunrise. 
As soon as we were stirring, black coffee was sent into us, and 
at breakfast we had cafe au lait in immense bowls, in the style 
of the cremeries of Paris. The woman remarked that our dog 
had slept in their bed-room. They had taken our saddle-bags 
and blankets with them for security, and Judy had insisted on 
following them. " Dishonest black people might come here and 
get into the room," explained the old man. " Yes ; and some 
of our own people in the house might come to them. Such 
things have happened here, and you never can trust any of them," 
said the woman, her own black girl behind her chair. 

At Mr. Begum's (Bacon's) we stopped on a Saturday night; 
and I was obliged to feed my own horse in the morning, the 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 401 

negroes having all gone off before daylight. The proprietor was 
a Creole farmer, owning a number of laborers, and living in com- 
fort. The house was of the ordinary Southern double-cabined 
style, the people speaking English, intelligent, lively and polite, 
giving us good entertainment at the usual price. At a rude corn- 
mill belonging to Mr. Beguin, we had noticed among the negroes 
an Indian boy, in negro clothing, and about the house were two 
other Indians — an old man and a young man ; the first poorly 
clad, the other gaily dressed in a showy printed calico frock, and 
worked buckskin leggins, with beads and tinsel ornaments, a great 
turban of Scotch shawl-stuff on his head. It appeared they were 
Choctaws, of whom a good many lived in the neighborhood. 
The two were hired for farm labor at three bits (37^- cents) a 
day. The old man had a field of his own, in which stood hand- 
some corn. Some of them were industrious, but none were 
steady at work — often refusing to go on, or absenting themselves, 
from freaks. I asked about the boy at the mill. He lived there 
and did work, getting no wages, but " living there with the nig- 
gers." They seldom consort ; our host knew but one case in 
which a negro had an Indian wife. 

At Lake Charles we had seen a troop of Alabamas, riding 
through the town with baskets and dressed deer-skins for sale. 
They were decked with feathers, and dressed more showily than 
the Choctaws, but in calico : and over their heads, on horseback, 
— -curious progress of manners — all carried open black cotton 
umbrellas, 

A "native dutch frenchman's" farm. 
Our last night beyond hotels was spent in a house which we 
reached at sundown of a Sunday afternoon. It proved to be a 



402 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

mere cottage, in a style which has grown to be common along 
our road. The walls are low, of timber and mud ; the roof, 
high, and sloping from a short ridge in all directions ; and the 
chimney of sticks and mud. The space is divided into one long 
living-room, having a kitchen at one end and a bed-room at the 
other. As we rode up, we found only a little boy, who answered 
us in French. His mother was milking, and his father out in 
the field. 

We rode on to the fence of the field, which enclosed twenty 
acres, planted in cotton, corn, and sweet potatoes, and waited 
until the proprietor reached us and the end of his furrow. He 
stopped before replying, to unhitch his horse, then gave consent 
to our staying in his house, and we followed his lead to the 
yard, where we unsaddled our horses. He was a tall, stalwart 
man in figure, with a large, intellectual head, but as uninformed, 
we afterwards discovered, as any European peasant; though he 
wore, as it were, an ill-fitting dress of rude independence in 
manner, such as characterizes the Western man. 

The field was well cultivated, and showed the best corn we 
had seen east of the Brazos. Three negro men and two women 
were at work, and continued hoeing until sunset. They were 
hired, it appeared, by the proprietor, at four bits (fifty cents) a 
day. He was in the habit of making use of the Sundays of the 
slaves of the neighborhood in this way, paying them sometimes 
seventy-five cents a day. 

On entering the house, we were met by two young boys, gen- 
tle and winning in manner, coming up of their own accord to 
offer us their hands. They were immediately set to work by 
their father at grinding corn, in the steel-mill, for supper. The 
task seemed their usual one, yet very much too severe for their 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 403 

strength, as they were slightly built, and not over ten years old. 
Taking hold at opposite sides of the winch, they ground away, 
outside the door, for more than an hour, constantly stopping to 
take breath, and spurred on by the voice of the papa, if the 
delay were long. 

They spoke only French, though understanding questions in 
English. The man and his wife— an energetic but worn woman — 
spoke French or English indifferently, even to one another, chang- 
ing, often, in a single sentence. He could not tell us which was 
his mother tongue ; he had always been as much accustomed to 
the one as to the other. He said he was not a Frenchman, but a 
native, American-born ; but afterwards called himself a " Dutch- 
American," a phrase he was unable to explain. He informed us 
that there were many " Dutch-French" here, that is, people who 
were Dutch, but who spoke French. 

The room into which we were ushered, was actually without 
an article of furniture. The floor was of boards, while those of 
the other two rooms were of trodden clay. The mud-walls had 
no other relief than the mantel, on which stood a Connecticut 
clock, two small mirrors, three or four cheap cups and saucers, 
and a paste brooch in the form of a cross, pinned upon paper, as 
in a jeweler's shop. Chairs were brought in from the kitchen, 
having deer-hide seats, from which sprang forth an atrocious 
number of fresh fleas. 

We had two or three hours to wait for our late supper, and 
thus more than ample time to converse with our host, who pro- 
ceeded to twist and light a shuck cigar. He made, he said, a 
little cotton, which he hauled ten miles to be ginned and baled. 
For this service he paid seventy-live cents a hundred weight, in 
which the cost of bagging was not included. The planter who baled 



404 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

it, also sold it for him, sending it, with his own, to a factor in 
New Orleans, by steamboat from Niggerville, just beyond Ope- 
lousas. Beside cotton, he sold every year some beef cattle. 
He had a good many cows, but didn't exactly know how many. 
Corn, too, he sometimes sold, but only to neighbors, who had 
not raised enough for themselves. It would not pay to haul it 
to any market. The same applied to sweet-potatoes, which were 
considered worth seventy-five cents a barrel. 

The " range" was much poorer than formerly. It was 
crowded, and people would have to take their stock somewhere 
else in four or five years more, or they would starve. He didn't 
know what was going to become of poor folks, rich people were 
taking up the public land so fast, induced by the proposed rail- 
road to New Orleans. 

More or less stock was always starved in winter. The worst 
time for them was when a black gnat, called the " eye-breaker," 
comes out. This insect breeds in the low woodlands, and when 
a freshet occurs in winter is driven out in swarms upon the prai- 
ries, attacking cattle terribly. They were worse than all manner 
of musquitoes, flies, or other insects. Cattle would herd toge- 
ther then, and wander wildly about, not looking for the best 
feed, and many would get killed. But this did not often 
happen. 

Horses and cattle had degenerated much within his recollec- 
tion. No pains were taken to improve breeds. People, now-a- 
days, had got proud, and when they had a fine colt would break 
him for a carriage or riding-horse, leaving only the common, 
scurvy sort to rim with the mares. This was confirmed by our 
observation, the horses about here being wretched in appearance, 
and the grass short and coarse. 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 405 

When we asked to wash before supper, a shallow cake-pan 
was brought and set upon the window-seat, and a mere rag offer- 
ed us for towel. Upon the supper-table, we found two wash- 
bowls,* one rilled with milk, the other with molasses. We asked 
for water, which was given us in one battered tin cup. The 
dishes, besides the bacon and bread, were fried eggs and sweet 
potatoes. The bowl of molasses stood in the centre of the 
table, and we were pressed to partake of it, as the family did, by 
dipping in it bits of bread. But how it was expected to be used 
at breakfast, when we had bacon and potatoes, with spoons, but 
no bread, I cannot imagine. 

The night was warm, and musquitoes swarmed, but we had 
with us a portable tent-shaped bar, which we hung over the fea- 
ther bed, upon the floor, and rested soundly amid their mad 
singing. 

The distance to Opelousas, our Frenchman told us, was fifteen 
miles by the road, though only ten miles in a direct line. We 
found it lined with farms, whose division-fences the road always 
followed, frequently changing its course in so doing at a right 
angle. The country was very wet and ud attractive. About five 
miles from the town, begin plantations on an extensive scale, 
upon better soil, and here were large gangs of negroes at work 
upon cotton, with their hoes. 

At the outskirts of the town, we waded the last pool, and 
entered, with a good deal of satisfaction, the peaceful shaded 
streets. Reaching the hotel, we were not so instantly struck 
as perhaps we should have been, with the overwhelming advan- 
tages of civilization, which sat in the form of a landlord, slapping 
with an agate-headed, pliable cane, her patent-leather boots, 
poised, at easy height, upon one of the columns of the gallery. 



406 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

We were suffered to take off our saddle-bags, and to wait until 
waiting was no longer a pleasure, before civilization, wringing 
bis cane against the floor, but not removing bis cigar, brought 
bis patent leathers to our vicinity. 

After some conversation, intended as animated upon one side 
and ineffably indifferent on the other, our horses obtained no- 
tice from that exquisitely vague eye, but a further introduction 
was required before our persons became less than transparent, 
for the boots walked away, and became again a subject of con- 
templation upon the column, leaving us, with our saddle-bags, 
upon the steps. After inquiring of a bystander if this glossy 
individual were the actual landlord, we attacked him in a tone 
likely to produce either a revolver-shot or a room, but whose effect 
was to obtain a removal of the cigar and a gentle survey, ending 
in a call for a boy to show the gentlemen to number thir- 
teen. 

After an four's delay, we procured water, and were about to 
enjoy very necessary ablutions, when we observed that the door 
of our room was partly of uncurtained glass. A shirt was 
pinned to this, and ceremonies were about beginning, when a 
step came down the passage, and a gentleman put his hand 
through a broken pane, and lifted the obstruction, wishing, no 
doubt, "to see what was going on so damn'd secret in number 
thirteen." He drew back hastily, and entered the next 
room, when I walked toward him hurriedly, in puris natura- 
libus* 

But civilization vindicated itself a few days later, in the rapid 
wheels and clean state-rooms of the " Alice W. Glaize." 

Twenty-four hours took us through the alligator-bayous to 
the Mississippi. Here we separated, one of us resuming the 



ALONG THE EASTERN COAST. 407 

saddle-bags for a two or three months' trip across the mountains 5 
the other steaming on to New Orleans, where, twenty-four hours 
later, a six months' flavor of bacon and corn was washed out in 
the cheer of the St. Charles. 



CHAP. VII. I 

GENEEAL CHARACTERISTICS. 

HISTORICAL AND ACTUAL POSITION. 

When, in 1821, the government at Mexico lent an ear to the 
plans of Moses Austin, they had not the shrewdness to detect in 
his proposition to introduce upon their idle lands of Texas, three 
hundred Catholic families from Louisiana,* the concealed point 
of a wedge that was one day to sunder the Mexican Kepublic. 
And when, the same year, the son of the Connecticut empresa- 
rio staked upon the Brazos prairie the outlines of the first 
American settlement in Texas, neither he nor the most sanguine 
of the handful of pioneers, who joined in his venture, could have 
foreseen the wonderful progress to follow on their little be- 
ginning. 

These original colonists were not slow at calculating the value 
of the rich acres their lucky eyes fell upon, nor in sending for 
their relatives to come on and help take possession. The first 
advance was quiet, and after all due Spanish formality ; and it 
was not until a firm foothoold had been secured, that Americans 
began to assert their natural rights as the smartest, to the big- 
gest and fairest inheritance. It seems to have been understood 
that the introduction of slaves was prohibited. They brought 

* Yoakum, L, p. *2il. 






GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 409 

therri — none the less — under an attested signature to a ninety- 
nine years' indenture.* As to Catholicism, not to jeopard their 
titles or the legitimacy of their children, they were put, grinning, 
in squads, through the farce of a Koman baptism and re-mar- 
riage, by a rollicking vagabond father from Ireland. 

Excusing or ignoring a few little moral irregularities like 
these, as stratagems likely to occur in the progress of any nation 
before its destiny has become sufficiently manifest to warrant the 
blunt use of force, we have no reason to be ashamed of the 
sagacity and determination of our fellow-citizens who chose 
Texas to build their homes in, nor of the manner in which they 
bore themselves when, after they were in fair majority, they pre- 
ferred English taxes and courts to Spanish. They sturdily 
subdued the lands, the savages, and when necessity was, the im- 
pertinent Spaniards. 

Every successive attempt at management of their political 
landlords was bad ; and at the last, had these been content to 
live in democratic peace with their new tenants and neighbors, 
their flag might at least have floated years longer over their 
province. 

We saw the land lying idle; we took it. This to other na- 
tions is all that we can say. Which one of them can cast the 
first stone ? 

When the history is candidly re-read, the story that the whole 
movement was the development of a deliberate and treacherous 
plot for the conquest of Texas, appears a needless exaggeration 
of influences that really played a secondary part. Plotting 
there was, no doubt, and schemes little and big hung on the 



* " Visit to Texas in JS3I." 

18 



410 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

progress of circumstances. Mr. Featherstonaugh attests it, who 
came upon Houston and other bold spirits, sitting up all night, 
on the Arkansas border. But Texas had long been coveted, and 
various idle attempts at seizure had before been made. The 
event, when by a false step Americans were once invited to en- 
ter, was easily foreseen, and heroes of various sorts swarmed 
around, to glut their ambition as civil and military chieftains, 
and to get their names emblazoned upon the new map. The 
class, whose property is invested in slaves, too, saw, clearly 
enough, its interest in the issue, and resolutely helped it on ; and 
the South, as a section, was not blind to the prospect of so vast 
a possible increase to its weight in the confederacy. But open 
movement, under motives so palpable to all the world, cannot 
be characterized as the workings of a plot, but rather as the first 
strategetical movements for a free fight. 

Austin was, I believe, no mischievous conspirator against 
Spain, Mexico, or the interests of free labor, though, doubtless, 
not unwilling to initiate events whose course would pass beyond 
his responsibility and control. The colonists themselves went as 
individuals — not as troops or emissaries — and with the single 
motive, in most cases, of making more money and having a 
better time in Texas than they could have in the States. The 
movement was, first of all, agricultural ; other influences, as the 
fillibuster and slavery-extension spirit, were subordinate, and 
only afterwards got the helm. The land was fertile ; that was 
the kernel of the matter. 

For a traveler who has lately ridden over the field, it is not 
easy to express regret for the simple fact that the fates have 
ordered such an addition to our national estate, though he may 
believe it dearly purchased, if it serve to delay for a single year 



GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 411 

our ultimate riddance of the curse of slavery. Since an English 
plough first broke the virgin sward of the sea-slope of Virginia, 
Saxons have not entered on so magnificent a domain. Many 
times, while making these notes, I have stopped to seek a super- 
lative equal to some individual feature of the scenery to be 
described, and one is more than ever wanting to apply to the 
country as a whole. With a front on the highway of the world, 
the high central deserts of the continent behind, a gentle slope 
Stretching between, of soil unmatched in any known equal area, 
and a climate tempered for either work or balmy enjoyment, 
Texa^ has an Arcadian preeminence of position among our 
States, and an opulent future before her, that only wanton mis- 
management can forfeit. 

SURFACE AND STRUCTURE. 

A summary review of her present condition will be best given 
in regional divisions; but a few common characteristics must 
first be considered. 

±±n outline of the surface is easily conceived. For fifty miles 
from the sea, extends throughout, a plain, with an imperceptible 
slope upward from the sea-level. Above comes an undulating 
interval, rising into broken hills which terminate at the base of 
the abrupt face of the great desert table-land. The level and 
undulating regions are an alluvial deposit, from which the waters, 
it is thought, have not long ago receded. Here and there, as 
near Seguin, a drift of gravel, superficially deposited, may be 
found ; and, north of the high hills of the upper Guadalupe, 
primitive rocks and boulders. The hilly region is a vast line of 
cretaceous formation, extending from the Eio Grande, northeast, 
(through San Antonio and Austin), to the Ked Kiver, corre- «* 



412 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

sponding, in many respects, with the similar formation lying 
parallel with the Atlantic sea-board. It yields everywhere an 
excellent limestone for building purposes. Near the limit of the 
table-lands, and following its general exterior line*; is a belt of 
gypsum of rare extent, lying between the Canadian and the Eio 
Grande, and from fifty to one hundred miles in width. From it 
a specimen of pure selenite was taken by Capt. Marcy, three feet 
by four, and two inches in thickness, and perfectly transparent. 
This bed of plaster may one day be of great agricultural value. 
On Upper Bed Biver, primitive rocks again appear, and a wide 
deposit of red clay, giving its coloring mattter to this river. The 
great plains, according to recent investigations, are themselves 
deposits of clays in strata, and cretaceous marls. 

Coal-beds are found at various points, especially well recog- 
nized upon the Kio Grande and at the Clear Fork of the Brazos. 
Copper ores are abundant ; and both copper and iron, it is be- 
lieved, will be found within the limits of profitable working, 
when their districts become more settled. Salt has been lately 
brought to market from the Upper Colorado. 

CLIMATE. 

In point of climate, Texas claims, with, at least, as much jus- 
tice as any other State, to be called the Italy of America. The 
general average of temperature corresponds, and the skies are 
equally clear and glowing. The peculiarities, over other climates, 
of the latitude, are found in its unwavering summer sea-breeze 
and its winter northers. The first is a delightful alleviation of 
its summer heats, flowing in each day from the gulf, as the sun's 
rays become oppressive, and extending remotely inland to the 
furthest settlements, with the same trustworthy steadiness. It 



GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 413 

continues through the evening, and is described as having so 
great effect that, however oppressive the day may have been, the 
nights are always cool enough to demand a blanket and yield 
invigorating rest. The range of thermometer in summer is uni- 
formly high, though seldom reaching the extremes that occur 
at the North. A new-comer feels principally in irritating 
eruptions, that he has entered a semi-tropical atmosphere. 

The northers prevail, during the winter months, in the western 
parts of the State, where the sweep of the air down from the 
great plains is unimpeded by forests. They alternate, at intervals 
of a few days, with mild weather, and cause a great and sudden 
change in the temperature, piercing to the bone, by their force 
and penetrating chill, any one inadequately prepared to meet 
them. There is some exhilarating quality, however, about them, 
that tempers their malice, and with shelter, they are easily en- 
durable. 

No part of the State is, probably, entirely free from malaria, 
the common bane of all our new countries. An unacclimated 
person must expect to have his attack of " chills," or, if he be 
imprudent in the situation of his residence, or in exposure, his 
course of bilious fever. With unusual pains, such as the selec- 
tion of a dry, breezy hill for the house, and a distant spot for the 
breaking up of the soil, possibly both may be escaped. The 
coast towns are visited, sometimes ravaged, by yellow fever 
(always imported), and, during its season, must be avoided by 
the traveler. Diseases of the lungs are generally reputed more 
rare in Texas than in more northern States ; but definite statis- 
tics are yet wanting. Liability to consumption is not to be 
escaped by a mere residence, though its course, when established, 
has, in many cases, been found to be alleviated and retarded. 



414 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The soil is always open to the plow, and, if pressed, will not 
refuse to yield its two crops within the twelvemonth. The long 
interval between the ripening and the necessary replanting of 
crops, gives the farmer or planter double advantage from his cul- 
tivating force. The plowing may be distributed over many 
months, and one hand thus do the work of several, where all is 
condensed into spring. 

The season advances somewhat more rapidly than on the Atlan- 
tic. Corn and cotton are planted in February, and ripen at the 
end of July. Wheat is cut in May. In San Antonio market, peas 
and potatoes, blackberries and mulberries appear early in April, 
apricots at the end of May, peaches at the end of June, and 
grapes at the beginning of July. The first bale of cotton at 
New Orleans, of the crop of 1855, was from Texas, and appeared 
on the 15th of July. 

The temperature of the earth, immediately below the influence 
of the seasons, is given at about 72° F., as indicated by all 
springs of considerable volume, at their outburst. 

The highest range of the atmosphere which I have seen noted, 
is 110° F., by Mr. Parker, in Northern Texas: the lowest range 
at Galveston is reported, by Hon. Ashbel Smith, to have occurred 
in the winter of 1837-8, when the mercury stood for a few hours 
at 12° F. 

SOURCES OF WEALTH. 

The principal wealth of Texas, both of the State and of individu- 
al Texans, lies yet in land, the acres held for sale being still in 
enormous proportion to those brought into use. The land-hold- 
ers are the chief power in the State, and, did they form a com- 
pact and sensitive body, their influence would entirely outweigh 
that of property in slaves. The cultivable area of the State is 



GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 415 

estimated at over a hundred millions of acres, about twenty- 
millions of which is called good cotton land, capable of pro- 
ducing, if all put in requisition, in a single year, more than three 
times our whole actual cotton crop, or upwards of nine millions 
of bales. 

The pastures of the State are a still greater source of future 
wealth, the production of beef and wool, if stimulated by the 
means of communication with a steady market, being almost 
incalculable. At present, it is simply one of the great interests 
in the commonwealth ; and the demand from New Orleans being 
limited, and the connection with the great northern and Euro- 
pean centres of consumption being hardly established,* the chief 
source of profit is found in the very progress of the interest 
within itself, the annual growth not keeping pace with the wants of 
immigrant herdsmen, who desire to purchase their outfit of stocks. 

Agriculture in Texas, with some exception among the 
Germans, is yet almost as rude and wasteful as it is possible 
to be. No rotation is ordinarily attempted : upon the same 
field the same crop is repeated, until all the elements of 
yield are exhausted, when a new area is taken for the same 
process. In fact, with cotton as the only export, and slaves as 
the only labor, no better system will ever be adopted. The 
growth of wealth is in almost nothing else than slaves, and each 
crop must go to be capitalized in more laborers. The demand 
upon the soil being thus incessant, immediate return in quantity, 
without reference to duration, becomes the measure of success, 
and must remain so as long as virgin soils are at hand. 



* Within a year or two, Texas droves have not unfrequently been quoted in 
the New York market reports. They are driven to Illinois, where they are fat- 
ted, and forwarded by rail. 



416 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The capabilities of the soil for a variety of crops, are, not- 
withstanding, very great. In the course of years, wine and 
tobacco will probably appear in the list of exports, with wheat, 
which is now produced in certain districts in sufficient quantities 
for a local supply. Maize, with an inconceivable shiftlessness, is 
still an import of the State. 

RAILROADS. 

That Texas, with all these capabilities of production, lacks 
only the means of cheap and steady transportation, to become 
the richest and most attractive slave State in the Union, is the 
very first and last reflection that forces itself upon a traveler. 
For want of such facilities as have shot, like diverging rays of 
light, from our Northern cities over our northwestern prairies, 
its vast land-capital must remain locked up and comparatively 
useless, in spite of its unrivaled capacities. It is, of course, the 
simplest idea in the world, to mortgage a small part of the idle 
land for the tenfold benefit of the remainder ; and on this prin- 
ciple have been founded various schemes, which, had they to 
encounter no Northern rivals in the world's market, would 
surely have been successful long ago. But such an air of delin- 
quency and pound-foolish repudiation, hangs over the young 
financial character of Texas, that capital is extremely shy, and 
flows into Northern enterprises at half the price and half the 
security. 

The railway system for the State, is simple and natural : a 
net-work of parallel roads, at remunerating distances from one 
another, running from the coast inland, and from the west 
towards the Mississippi. None of them have failed to be pro- 
jected ; but not one of them is yet completed. 



GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. 417 

During our winter in Texas, the most profusely liberal offers, 
under the most riveted State obligations, were made, to further 
one main line of railway across the State, designed to be the 
stem of the great Pacific road. But the new obligations had 
the old Texan odor of evaded contracts about them, and, though 
adventurers buzzed about, not a capitalist appeared. 

Charters, with handsome douceurs in land attached, have a 
long time existed, for a number of railways. And, during the 
last session of the legislature, a union of all conflicting plans 
was effected, in passing a law loaning, in cash, $6,000 per mile to 
all railways in actual construction. The effect of this remains 
to be seen ; but a new impulse has at last been given to railway 
enterprises, and the promise is good. But one road is yet in 
operation, so far as I can learn, in Texas, at the end of 1856 — 
that from Harrisburg and Houston to Richmond, on the Brazos, 
a distance of twenty-five miles.* 



* This road is intended to reach Austin. Two competing lines from the Gulf 
at Galveston, northward, are in course of construction — the " Galveston, Hous- 
ton, and Henderson," and the " Galveston and Red River." The former haa 
some miles ready for traffic. 

18* 



CHAP. VIII. 

REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 

NEW STATES. 

The actual limits of the State of Texas include an area of 
274,362 square miles — or a territory greater than the aggregate 
areas of Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jer- 
sey, New York, and all New England.* This immense region, 
as is well known, is to be divided ere long into five States, 
according to the terms of the Joint Kesolution of Annexation.^ 

The boundaries of these new States are, of course, not yet 
mapped, but in local acceptance they are clearly enough indi- 
cated. The vaguest tavern conversation assumes a natural 



* Area of Texas, '274,362 miles ; of France, 200,000 square miles ; of England 
and Wales, 57,955 ; of Virginia, 61,000 ; of New York, 46,000. 

t " New States of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition 
to the said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by 
the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be 
entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution ; and 
such States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying south of 
thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Mis- 
souri Compromise line, shall be admitted into the Union with or without 
slavery, as the people of each State asking admission may desire. And in such 
State or States as shall be formed out of said territory north of said Missouri 
Compromise line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime), shall be 
prohibited." The limits of the State have been since so defined, that no part now 
lies north of the Compromise line. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 419 

antagonism and future division between Eastern and Western 
Texas. The limiting line is not drawn — the people of the East 
assuming the Trinity as their western boundary, while those of 
the West call all beyond the Colorado, Eastern Texas. This 
leaves between the Trinity and the Colorado, Central Texas, a 
convenient and probable disposition. 

Northeastern Texas, or the region above the navigable heads 
of the gulf rivers, and having its principal commercial relations 
with Eed Eiver, is a fourth district, also distinct from the body 
of the State. The line of the proposed Pacific railroad along the 
thirty-second parallel, extending upon the map from the Brazos 
to Shrieveport in Louisiana, may indicate its southern limit. 

Northwestern Texas remains. It will still be the largest 
State of the Union, as its great plains are only adapted, so far 
as known, for a sparse population of herdsmen and shepherds. 
It would extend as far east, perhaps, as a line drawn north from 
the Brazos at 32°, and as far south as a line drawn from the 
same point to the mouth of the PecdS. 

But political necessities, and local jealousies and rivalries will 
control the limits as well as the time of erection of these five 
States, and the outlines sketched can only indicate the crystal- 
lizing tendencies, and serve for purposes of description.* 

NORTHEASTERN TEXAS. 

This portion of the State is that which, for the last three or 
four years, has been most attractive to emigration. We learned, 



* We have been fortunate in the names of our new States. Do not let us 
admit these as exceptions, with such names as Houston, Smith, Rusk — hut 
demand the euphonious appellations found within their respective limits. Thus, 
Caddonia, Sabina, Waco, Comanche; Angelina, Lanana, Panola; Matagorda, 
Navasota ; Bexar, Atascosa, Uvalde, Bandera : Estacada. 



420 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

very soon after entering Texas, to have a respect for it as re- 
ceiving general conversational encomiums, and much regretted 
that it was not in our power to examine it at our leisure. We 
took pains, however, to preserve such data respecting it as we 
considered trustworthy, and find them confirmed by an excellent 
and definite report of Mr. Edward Smith, the commissioner of a 
proposed English emigration, in 1849. 

The region is characterized by its direct business relations, 
through Ked River, with the Mississippi ; by its capabilities for 
the agricultural productions of more northern States ; and by 
the active class of emigrants by which it has been settled. The 
nearer districts have been peopled from Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky, and from the northernmost portions of the gulf States, by 
farmers and small planters, who hold few field hands, and fre- 
quently only household servants, not disdaining to give their 
personal labor to their lands. Large plantations, with their 
beggarly accompaniments of poor whites, are comparatively rare, 
and the country feels the progressive life of its energetic citizens. 

The eastern counties are covered with forest ; in the central, 
prairies alternate with wood; while in the western they pre- 
dominate, although timber enough for agricultural purposes is 
everywhere within reach. The soil of the east is the red " Red- 
Kiver soil," sometimes gravelly, usually rich and productive. It 
is upon this last that the best cotton is produced-— gfchat of Cass, 
Harrison, and Bowie counties bearing a higher price in market 
than that sent from other districts. 

In the north, a rich, black soil is found, commencing in Red- 
Eiver county and extending west and south into Dallas county. 
In the intermediate country lies a gray, sandy soil, alternating 
in the southeast with the red soil from Red-River. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 421 

The prairies are stocked with a " wire-grass," described as 
very nutritious, which, on the black soils, is found mingled with 
the " calamus," a sort preferred by horses. Neither is con- 
sidered equal to the mesquit. 

The whole region, but particularly the black calcareous soil 
of the northwest, is found to be adapted to wheat, and on many 
farms it is the principal crop. Samples have been shown weigh- 
ing upwards of seventy-two pounds to the bushel, and sixty-two 
pounds is considered the miller's average. It is said that the 
demand of the whole State, were means of transportation pro- 
vided, could be supplied from the country lying between Fort 
Towson and the west fork of the Trinity. The crop is ready 
for the reaper early in May, and new wheat may be placed in 
market by the middle of the month. 

The steady breeze, which prevails nearer the coast, is not 
wanting, according to the best authorities, in this section, to 
mitigate the unvarying heats of summer; and Mr. Smith reports 
abundant testimony of the capabilities of whites for agricultural 
labor. Thus, Mr. Peacock, near Dangerfield, the owner of seve- 
ral slaves left by his father, states that he works himself in the 
field, and that cotton is cultivated by white labor with perfect 
success. A brother-in-law of Mr. Peacock, who would not 
employ slaves, produced more bales to the hand than any 
planter around him. Mr. Houndsdell, of Lamar County 
(whose wheat, yielding twenty bushels to the acre, weighs 
sixty-seven pounds), knows from experience that a white man 
can labor as well in cotton-growing, and do as much work in 
general, as the black man. Dr. Garey, on Sulphur Prairie, says 
that slavery is almost unknown there, and the settlers are far 
more industrious than in the South, etc. 



422 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The principal planting counties are the easternmost — Harrison, 
the oldest, having more than one quarter of the slaves found in 
the twenty-eight counties of this part of the State. 

The whole population of Northeastern Texas, in 1850, was 
about 60,000 — one quarter slaves.* At the beginning of 1857, 
it may be estimated at 135,000 — twenty-two per cent, slaves. 
Harrison, Cass, and Bowie counties, have together nearly one- 
half. These, with the three adjacent counties, and Lamar, Fan- 
nin, and part of Smith, have eight-tenths. Bat two of the remain- 
ing twenty-one counties have as many as five hundred each.* 

The increase of slaves, from 1850 to 1855, has been, in round 
numbers, from 15,000 to 25,000, the principal part of which has 
taken place in Smith, Cass, Upshur, Harrison, and Titus counties. 

The unsettled parts of Northeastern Texas and the adjoining 
regions, comprising the heads of all the Texan streams as far as 
the Llano Estacado, have been explored by Capt. Marcy in his 
various expeditions. They are described in his reports, and in a 
pleasant volume of " Notes" by Mr. Parker, his companion upon 
his last trip around the head of the Brazos. No large tracts of 
land suitable for agricultural purposes, appear to lie beyond the 
natural boundary of the Cross Timbers, though a part of the 
surface affords good sheep and cattle range, and here and there 
a single farm may be placed in a fertile creek-bottom. The 
Cross Timbers themselves are a curious phenomenon, being two 
belts of timber (mostly post-oak and black-jack), extending in 
nearly parallel lines the whole distance from the Brazos to the 
Canadian, having each a width of five to twenty-five miles. The 

* The figures are derived from the Census of 1850, and the Report of the 
State Comptroller for 1855. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 423 

water of the streams above them is frequently brackish, bitter, 
and unsuitable for use, and the country, as the verge of the 
great plains is approached, becomes desolate, and broken into 
almost impassable ridges, offering no temptation for any second 
visit, even of exploration, save by geologists. As to climate, 
the summer heats and accompanying droughts are extreme, the 
thermometer for two months ranging from 100° to 110°. 

The Brazos has good lands in limited quantities, as high as 
its Clear Fork, and upon the latter, not only excellent soil, but 
valuable beds of coal. The Little Wichita and Upper Eed Kiver 
have some f, rtile bottoms ; but the only other region of agricul- 
tural value is found at the base of the Wichita mountains, of 
which Capt. Marcy speaks with enthusiasm. This, however, will 
not only be long remote from markets, but lies within the limits 
of the Indian Territory. That large projection of Texan area, 
from Eed Eiver northward to 36° 30', appears to be nearly 
worthless. 

EASTERN TEXAS. 

Particular observations in this part of Texas have been given 
in describing our route, which lay twice across it. The grassed 
flats of the coast extend some fifty miles from the gulf. Above 
this is a wooded region, having a western edging of small prai- 
ries along the Trinity, and an eastern of pine-bearing sand along 
the Sabine. It is considered to be less fertile, except in limited 
spots, than the other sections of the State; and in certain portions 
the lands of considerable districts have already been exhausted. 
Judged by the increase of slaves, the northern and northwestern 
counties are in a progressive condition, while the eastern central 
are retrograding — the comptroller's report showing an actual 
decrease of numbers. 



424 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Its population, in 1850 about 45,000, may be estimated, in 
1857, at 70,000, of which thirty-six per cent, are slaves. 

CENTRAL TEXAS. 

Central Texas comprises the oldest American settlements, the 
principal sugar-district, and some of the richest bottom-lands of 
the State, as well as the two chief towns of Houston and Gal- 
veston.* The coast-prairies extend sixty or eighty miles inland, 
but are far more fertile and valuable than those either of the 
East or the West ; being traversed by small streams, in whose 
bottoms lie the productive fields of great plantations. The 
undulating region above, has the characteristics of both the 
wooded and the prairie districts ; high pastures covering the 
ridges between the streams, dense forests following their courses. 
The prairie soil is lighter than the black soils of the west, and 
easily exhausted ; but the low lands are unsurpassed. The 
country is probably destined to the occupation of a mixed popu- 
lation of herdsmen and planters. In the extreme north, the 
undulations rise into broken, rocky hills, with narrow intervals 
of level land along the wooded valleys. Here a good bitumin- 
ous coal is found. 



* Galveston, the principal port of the State, stands near the eastern extremity 
of one of the flat sand-islands of the gulf, some twelve miles from the main. Its 
streets are regular, lined by building's of wood ; its business active, giving it a 
rapid growth, its population being now about 10,000. Its remarkable points 
are, its cotton warehouses, its direct foreign trade, its bare elevation above the 
gulf, the depth of water on its bar — called ordinarily fourteen feet, but varying 
with the wind — its good hotels, its beach-sand drive, its periodical devastation 
by yellow fever, its bleak and piercing northers, and the bigoted devotion of its 
inhabitants to African slavery as the social ideal. In the latter respect, it affects 
to rival Charleston, its citizens having recently refused even to receive the ex- 
planations of their own representative, Mr. Sherwood, for one of his votes in 
the State legislature, burning him instantly at the moral stake. 






REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 425 

SUGAR. 

The sugar lands of Texas are estimated roughly to embrace 
an area of more than seven millions of acres ; sufficient, should 
their capacities ever be developed, to supply three times the 
whole amount now consumed in the United States. It is not 
probable that one-tenth part will be put to use ; but, should the 
present import duty be maintained, and Cuba, with her irresisti- 
ble tropical advantages, remain under foreign dominion, a steady 
development of production will probably go on. The best lands 
are quite equal to those of Louisiana, while the capital required 
for new establishments is far less than there — lands bearing one- 
eighth the price, no levees, drains, or canals being required, and 
fuel, for the present, being at hand. 

The principal sugar-growing counties are Brazoria and Mata- 
gorda, upon the coast, which, as long ago as 1850, indicated 
their capacities, by sending to market over 5,000 hogsheads. 
Within their limits are some of the richest soils in the world. 
One cane-brake (the best indication) extends over a strip seventy- 
five miles in length, along the Caney, a little coast stream. 

Central Texas is also the region whence comes the bulk of the 
cotton exported by the State — the counties of Colorado and 
Washington contributing nearly one-fifth to the total. 

The population of the region in 1850 — 61,000 — thirty-six per 
cent, slaves — may be assumed to have doubled in six years, and 
to be now about 122,000 — thirty per cent, slaves. 

WESTERN TEXAS. 

Western Texas must be considered in two parts — the settled 
district lying between the Colorado and the Nueces, and the bar- 
ren wastes bordering the Eio Grande. 



426 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS, 

Of the genial portion I Lave already spoken with unfeigned 
enthusiasm. For sunny beauty of scenery and luxuriance of 
soil, it stands quite unsurpassed in my experience, and I believe 
no region of equal extent in the world can show equal attractions. 
It has certainly left such pictures in memory, as bring it first to 
mind as a field for emigration, when any motive suggests a 
change of my own residence. 

Its surface has a general similarity to that of Central Texas. 
Beyond the flat coast prairies, which extend some forty miles in- 
land, commence gentle swells, continuing to the base of the 
Guadalupe range of hills, 150 miles from the gulf. 

Its superb pastures are the characteristic of the country. The 
whole extent, except an occasional cedar-brake or patch of post- 
oak, and away from the immediate banks of the streams, is cover- 
ed with the finest and most nutritious grasses, supplying, even 
in winter, sufficient sustenance for cattle, and in summer, a luxu- 
rious superabundance. Herds and flocks form, consequently, its 
natural riches ; and of these, where so little care is required, 
it is almost impossible to over-estimate the productive ca- 
pacity. 

The streams which, in other parts of the State, are thick and 
discolored with mud, flow here clear as crystal; and the soil, 
which, as you advance from east to west, across the State, steadi- 
ly improves in fertility, here culminates in a black calcareous 
loam, which is universally distributed. 

Its disadvantages are, the comparative scarcity of timber for 
building and fencing, the reported greater liability to loss from 
dry seasons, the distance from market, and, temporarily, the ex- 
posure to Indian marauds upon its frontier. The north winds, 
too, which come in winter with fury, from the plains above, are 



i 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 427 

to be dreaded 3 though they are partly counterbalanced by the 
luxurious steadiness of the summer sea-breeze. 

In respect of population. Western Texas is characterized by 
the presence of a large foreign element. 

The Mexicans alone, obtained by annexation, number here 
nearly twenty thousand. Such particulars as we could gather 
respecting their condition, have been already offered. Of those 
who had property and intelligence, the greater number at once 
withdrew from Texas; of the remainder, the stagnant life has 
been little changed by the new laws and the new circumstances ; 
and, being regarded by the Americans as, socially, only a step 
above the negroes, they have little or no influence within the 
community, in which they possess, notwithstanding, an equal voice 
in all questions open to suffrage. In these matters they are, to a 
great degree, under the control of their church, though much less 
absolutely so than in Mexico. They have been of value as 
furnishing a temporary though ill-regulated supply of cheap 
labor, already familiar with the details of local agriculture, and 
especially adapted to its most profitable branch of stock-raising. 
But as they have the reputation of naturally consorting with 
negroes, and falling into an intercourse with them immediately 
demoralizing and dangerous, they have done much to prevent the 
approach toward the frontier, of agricultural capital. They make, 
however, themselves docile and patient laborers, and, by dint of 
education and suitable management, are not incapable of being 
elevated into a class that shall occupy a valuable position in the 
development of the resources of the region. 

A singular offshoot of the great European current has poured, 
almost coincidently with American occupation, a considerable 
stream of German immigration into the same territory. An 



428 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

account of its origin and course, and our observations among the 
settlers thus introduced, have been given. Some details of their 
actual numbers, character, and political position remain to be 
added. 

NUMBER AND POSITION OF THE GERMANS. 

There are estimated to be, at the commencement of 1857, 
35,000 Germans in Texas, of whom about 25,000 are 
settled in the German and half- Germ an counties of Western 
Texas.* 

The early emigration was of a somewhat humble and promis- 
cuous description. While the great part was composed of 
peasants and mechanics, who had no other reproach than that 
of honest poverty, and a desire for improving their condition, 
there were a certain number, as among the early settlers of Vir- 
ginia, who were suffered to escape justice at home on condition 
of becoming colonists ; who were, in short, sentenced to Texas. 
But whatever of reckless energy was thus disposed of, seems to 



* In Comal, Gillespie, and Medina counties, nearly all the inhabitants are 
Germans. In Victoria and Colorado counties they constitute about three- 
fourths the population; in Calhoun, Bastrop, and Bexar (excluding San Antonio), 
about one-half; in Fayette, Caldwell, Travis, and San Antonio city, about one- 
third, and in Hays about one-fourth. I have, from an intelligent source, the 
following estimate by counties, with a larger footing. The census of 1850 is 
thought to be of little value in respect of reports upon the nativities of Texans : 
Eastern Texas. — Galveston, 3,500 ; Houston, 3,000 ; Harris Co., 1,000 ; scat- 
tered, 1,000. Total, 8,500. 
Central Texas.— Austin, 3,000 ; Washington, 1,000 ; Travis, 2,000 ; Colora- 
do, 1,200; Bastrop, 1,100; Fayette, 1,000; Milam, 500; 
other counties, 400. Total, 10,200 (part west of Colorado). 
Western Texas.— Comal, 3,500; Gillespie, 2,000; Bexar, 5,000; Medina, 
1,500; Guadalupe, 1,500; Victoria, 1,500; Dewitt, 1,500 ; 
Calhoun, 1,200 ; Karnes, 830 ; Caldwell, 400 ; Nueces, 400 ; 
Llano, 400 ; Hayes, 300 ; Kerr, 300 ; Gonzales, 300 ; Rio 
Grande Cos., 1,100. Total, 21,700. Total in State, 
40,400. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 429 

have found for itself a natural and harmless vent among the 
rough demands of frontier life. The result, at least, favors an 
offer to every rogue of the chance to show himself the victim of 
circumstances ; for it is certainly remarkable with what success 
the unpractical nation has joined issue with nature and the sav- 
ages ; and how here, where the comparison may every day be 
made, even Americans acknowledge the Germans their equals as 
pioneers.* 

After the events of 1848, the emigration became of a more 
valuable character, and included a large proportion of farmers 
and persons in moderate circumstances, who sought a hopeful 
future in the New World. With them came numbers of cultivated 
and high-minded men, some distinctly refugees, others simply 
compromised, in various degrees, by their democratic tendencies, 
who found themselves exposed to disagreeable surveillance, or to 
obstructions, through police management, in whatever honorable 
career they wished to enter, while others merely followed, from 
affection or curiosity, this current of their friends. 

Few of this class have been able to bring with them any large 
amount of property ; and, with the German tendency to invest in 
lands, they have chiefly lost the advantages belonging to even a 
limited capital-in-hand in a new country. 

I have described how wonderfully some of them are still able 
to sustain their intellectual life and retain their refined taste, and, 
more than all, with their antecedents, to be seemingly contented 



* Our information upon this point may be incorrect. At all events, the num- 
ber of vagabonds was very small, as only cash subscribers were received by 
the association. Single men were required to be in possession of $120, married 
men of $240. This regulation excluded from Texas a pauper class, which has 
since furnished thousands of vigorous and valuable laborers to the Northwest- 
ern States. Gesammelte Aktenstuecke des Vereins, p. 27. 



430 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

and happy, while under the necessity of supporting life in the 
most frugal manner by hard manual labor. 

There is, as I have before intimated, something extremely 
striking in the temporary incongruities and bizarre contrasts of 
the backwoods life of these settlers. You are welcomed by a 
figure in blue flannel shirt and pendant beard, quoting Tacitus, 
having in one hand a long pipe, in the other a butcher's knife ; 
Madonnas upon log-walls; coffee in tin cups upon Dresden 
saucers; barrels for seats, to hear a Beethoven's symp*hony on the 
grand piano ; " My wife made these pantaloons, and my stock- 
ings grew in the field yonder ;" a fowling-piece that cost $300, 
and a saddle that cost $5 ; a book-case half filled with classics, 
half with sweet potatoes. 

But, as lands are subdued, and capital is amassed, these incon- 
veniences will disappear, and pass into amusing traditions, while 
the sterling education and high-toned character of the fathers 
will be unconsciously transmitted to the social benefit of the 
coming generation. The virtues I have ascribed to them as a 
class are not, however, without the relief of faults, the most 
prominent among which are a free-thinking and a devotion to 
reason, carried, in their turn, to the verge of bigotry, and ex- 
panded to a certain rude license of manners and habits, consonant 
with their wild prairies, but hardly with the fitness of things, and, 
what in practical matters is even a worse error, an insane mutual 
jealousy, and petty personal bickering, that prevents all pro- 
longed and effective cooperation — an old German ail, which the 
Atlantic has not sufficed to cleanse. 

The poorer emigrants, who were able to purchase farms, have 
made the happiest progress, meeting a steady market for their 
productions, and a continuous appreciation in the value of their 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 431 

improved lands. The mechanics and laborers, after the first dis- 
tress, found more work awaiting them than their hands could 
perform, and have constantly advanced to become themselves 
employers, offering their old wages to the new-comers of each 
successive emigration. 

This is the source whence has been supplied the patient and 
well-directed muscle, which is the first demand of a new country, 
and which, had American, or even African arms been awaited, 
Western Texas must have long wanted. 

In social and political relations, the Germans do not occupy 
the position to which their force and character should entitle 
them. They mingle little with the Americans, except for the 
necessary buying and selling. The manners and ideals of the 
Texans and of the Germans are hopelessly divergent, and the 
two races have made little acquaintance, observing one another 
apart with unfeigned curiosity, often tempered with mutual con- 
tempt. The Americans have the prestige of preoccupation, of 
accustomed dominance over Mexicans and slaves, of language, 
capital, political power, and vociferous assumption. The Ger- 
mans, quiet, and engrossed in their own business, by nature 
law-abiding and patient, submit to be governed with little 
murmuring. 

A large proportion of the emigrants have remained apart, in Ger- 
man communities, and have contented themselves with the novel 
opportunity of managing, after republican forms, their own little 
public affairs. Others, by their scattered residence in isolated 
positions, are excluded from any other than individual life. Such 
as have settled in American neighborhoods or towns, feeling the 
awkwardness of new-comers, and ignorant of the language, have 
hitherto almost refrained from taking part in politics. 



432 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The intelligent portion as early as possible make themselves 
citizens, and become voters ; but until the recent agitation of the 
idea of restricting the privileges of persons of foreign birth, there 
has been, in fact, no topic of sufficient general interest to give 
rise to parties among them, or to force them, as is the result of 
this, into united action. 

As to slavery, the mass living by themselves, where no slaves 
are seen, and having no instinctive prejudice of color, feel simply 
the natural repugnance for a system of forced labor, universal in 
free society. Few of them concern themselves with the theo- 
retical right or wrong of the institution, and while it does not 
interfere with their own liberty or progress, are careless of its 
existence. 

But this mass is easily swayed by political management, and 
if brought to any direct vote, examining every question only in 
the light of personal interest, would move together against slave- 
owners as their natural enemies. 

Among the Germans of the west we met not one slave-owner, 
and there are not probably thirty among them all who have pur- 
chased slaves.* The whole capital of most of them lies in their 
hands, and with these every black hand comes into tangible and 
irritating competition. With the approach of the slave, too, 
comes an implied degradation, attaching itself to all labor of the 
hands. 

The planter is by no means satisfied to find himself in the 



* A gentleman of Sun Antonio, from his business relations with Germans 
particularly well-informed in the matter, told me he knew, in all, of twelve Ger- 
man slave-proprietors in Texas. Ten of these have unwillingly bought house- 
maids, to relieve their wives, who were unable to find German servants ; one 
gentleman owns four field-hands in Gillespie county ; another about the same 
number in Washington county — both old Texans of '36. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 433 

neighborhood of the German. He is not only by education un- 
congenial, as well as suspicious of danger to his property, already 
somewhat precariously near the frontier, but finds, in his turn, a 
direct competition of interests, which can be readily compre- 
hended in figures. 

The ordinary Texan wages for an able field-hand are $200. 
The German laborer hires at $150, and clothes and insures him- 
self. The planter for one hand must have paid $1,000. The 
German with this sum can hire six hands. It is here the con- 
tact galls. 

But actual collision is comparatively rare. The German 
shop-keepers and mechanics, in American towns, occupy, of ne- 
cessity, an almost suspected position, and whatever their senti- 
ments, they carefully avoid all open expression.* In the 
German settlements there is no direct occasion for thought on 
the subject. It is only where the population mixes in equal 
proportion — as in San Antonio — that ideas and interests clash, 
and bitter feelings are stirred. 

The great body of Germans being devoted exclusively to their 
own material progress, there are, as might be expected, two rival 
influences at work among them. It is not to be believed that 
European democrats, who have suffered exile for their social 
theories, would at once abandon them, and, by fraternizing with 
an aristocracy of slave proprietors, belie here every principle for 
which they had struggled at home. On the other hand, in every 
community a certain number of hangers-on are sure, from mo- 



* Not, however, from any motives of direct interest, as might be surmised, 
in business with planters. The empty cotton-wagons bring these their supplies 
from the coast direct, and they own their own siave-mechanic3. avoiding Ger- 
mans when possible. 

19 



434 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tives of petty selfishness, to attach themselves to any dominant 
party. The Americans have thus their allies among the Ger- 
mans, who, with those who fear the agitation of any subject, hut 
especially this, as detrimental or inopportune, form the party of 
eager subservience. In a slave state the opportunity does not 
often arise for any public expression of an Opinion upon slavery, 
and for want of a practical question for discussion, neither of 
these divisions has been able to show any great activity, except 
of jealousy and acrimonious feeling. 

Their existence and relative power are best illustrated by the 
history of an attempt at the free discussion of slavery in the 
columns of their German newspaper. Feeling themselves strong 
enough in San Antonio to support a local journal, which should 
be a means of intercommunication, of literary sustenance, and 
of expression of their opinions, the leading Germans raised, 
about four years since, by small joint subscriptions, a capital for 
the purchase of a press and materials. A prominent exile, of 
literary experience, was elected editor by general acclamation, 
and the issue of a weekly commenced. In his prospectus, the 
editor announced himself a radical democrat, and his determina- 
tion to regard every political question from the point of view of 
social progress. 

Slavery could not of course be ignored, and, although the 
position was delicate, the subject was discussed like others, as 
often as its importance, under the circumstances, demanded. Its 
economical variance with the interests of the German free labor- 
ers, and with the natural future of the Western prairies, was now 
and then dwelt upon ; and on the main question of the essential 
temporariness or permanence of slavery in America, involving, in 
national politics, extension and furtherance, or restriction and 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 4-35 

localization, the ground natural to a democrat by principle, was 
taken. But the tone of the paper was rather literary and edu- 
cational, and slavery had apparently no special prominence. 
What was said on the subject, circulated only among Germans, 
and, though distasteful to the Americans, was, for a long time, 
hardly noticed by them. 

The journal was a decided success, and, at the annual election, the 
same editor was, with great unanimity, chosen by the stockholders 
to continue its conductor. Meanwhile, the Germans feeling their 
social influence too small upon the public opinion of a commu- 
nity of which they constituted by intelligence and numbers, at 
least the equal half, undertook to assert themselves by some 
combined action. In May, 1854, advantage w 7 as taken of the 
concourse at their annual musical festival in San Antonio, to 
hold a simultaneous political convention. An extended " plat- 
form" was adopted and published, containing the condensed ex- 
pression of their radical opinions. It had the disadvantage of 
proposing no particular action, but of being put forth as a simple 
manifesto of principles. 

One of the resolutions discussed slavery, and declared it to 
be an evil which should be eventually removed.* 

* " Slavery is an evil whose ultimate removal is, according to Democratic 
principles, indispensable ; but as it affects only individual States, we demand : 
That the Federal Government refrain from all interference in affairs of Slavery ; 
but that, when any single State shall resolve on the removal of this evil, the 
aid of the government may be claimed.' (Die Sklaverei ist ein Uebel, dessen 
endliche Beseitigung, den Grundsatzen der Demokratie gemass, nothwendig- 
ist; da sie aber nur einzelne Staaten betrifft, so fordern wir; Dass die Bun- 
desregierung sich aller Einmischung in Sachen der Sklaverei enthalte ; dass 
aber, wenn ein einzelner Staat die Beseitigung dieses Uebels beschliesst, 
alsdann zur Ausfuhrung dieses Beschlusses die Bundeshulfe in Anspruch 
genommen werden kann.) 

The following amendments were rejected : 

" Slavery is according to our views a social evil, and possibly liable to conflict 



433 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The novel attitude of the Germans was disagreeable to the 
Americans, and this resolution, meddling with the question of 
slave-property, particularly offensive. An excitement sprung up, 
which for a month or more was kept within the limits of con- 
versation, but broke out into newspaper clamor and open threats 
of violence, when, by a series of articles from a German source, 
it was discovered that the Germans were not unanimous in their 
opinions. 

In fact, the time was unpropitious for such a political demon- 
stration. " Americanism" was just beginning to show its 
strength in the East, and to extend its lodges and its barbarizing 
prejudices into Texas. This independent movement on the part 
of foreigners, was a god-send to the new party. It gave it a 
tangible point of attack, and what with the cry of " foreign in- 
terference in politics," and " abolitionism in Texas," a universal 
howl from the American papers went up against the Germans. 

The German newspaper had the brunt to bear. It had pub- 
lished and defended the resolutions, and could not, like the con- 
vention, dissolve into silence. The editor, reading in the State 
Constitution the guarantee of his right to free speech, contin- 
ued on his way, taking little notice of the outcry, answering 
only in earnest, such arguments as were worth the pains. He 
soon, however, found that some of his subscribers were disposed 
to flinch. Two parties were evidently forming among them. 



with white labor. But this institution comes too little home to Germans, and is 
too much connected with the interests of our American fellow-citizens, for us to 
feel ourselves urged to take, in this question, initiatory-steps, or to act upon it 
politically." 

a Negro-Slavery is an evil, perilous to the duration of the Union. Its abolition 
must be left to the individual States in which it exists. We German-speaking 
Texan's, are not naturally in a position to initiate measures, but we wish the 
Federal Government's patronage of the same dispensed with." 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 437 

At his suggestion, a general meeting of the stockholders was 
called, at which the course of the paper was sustained, but as a 
measure of justice to the dissentients it was resolved to sell the 
press, and allow the paper to stand upon its merits. The editor 
now became proprietor, and for a time was well supported. An 
English department was added to his sheet, that Americans 
might read his principles for themselves, not in garbled extracts 
and translations with a purpose. This aroused again the fury 
of the American papers, which, as time passed, had somewhat 
subsided. A determined effort was made for the suppression of 
the sheet. Under threat of being denounced as secret aboli- 
tionists, the American merchants were induced to withdraw their 
advertisements. The publication was then carried on at a loss. 
Friends began to waver, and to condemn the editor's course as 
" ultra," terminating one by one their subscriptions. The editor 
saw himself becoming a victim to his allegiance to principles, but, 
for more than a year, sustained with dignity his supposed right 
to free expression in Texas. His resources at length exhausted, 
he surrendered to starvation, and became a second time an exile, 
the press falling into the hands of the opposite party, who have 
established a journal whose first principle is not to give offense 
to slaveholders. 

During this singular struggle, threats of the application of 
Lynch law were incessant on the part of the Americans. The 
American journals even advocated it, the " State Times" of Aus- 
tin going so far as to indicate the mode of punishment, by 
drowning. The locality was favorable, to the last degree, for 
this mode of disposing of opposition. The respect for law is of 
the weakest, and the tribe of border-idlers, always ready for an 
excitement, has its very headquarters in San Antonio. In fact, 



438 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

the danger was imminent, and only averted by the personal 
pluck of the editor, and the determination on the part of the 
Germans, without regard to party, to resist force by force, and 
to stand by their countryman, bullet for bullet, in a collision of 
races where the laws were on their side. 

The editor has since become a resident of Boston. Pie has 
some amusing details of the various means brought to bear upon 
his obstinacy. While at work at his press one morning, he was 
interrupted by a knock, which introduced a six-foot citizen of 
the region, holding in his hand a heavy stick, and accompanied 
by a friend. 

" Are you the editor of this German newspaper V 9 he asked. 
" Yes, sir." 

" You're an abolitionist, are you?" 
" Yes, sir." 

Then came a pause, after which the inquiry — 
" What do you mean by an abolitionist V 9 
The editor very briefly explained. 

Another pause followed, after which the citizen announced 
that he would consult with his friend a moment outside. He 
shortly reentered, saying : 

" Well, sir, we've concluded that you are a God damn'd 
abolitionist, and that such a scoundrel as you are ought to be 
thrashed out of the town." 
" Very well, sir. Try it." 

A third pause ensued, to terminate which, the editor opened 
the door, whereupon the individuals walked out. 

The same persons hovered about for some days, not coming, 
however, nearer than the door-yard, and at length became such 
a nuisance that he was forced to obtain the services of a friend, 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 439 

to explain in a quiet way his precise opinions ; upon which they 
made a bluff apology, and acknowledged him to be not so bad 
a fellow, after all. Once, an offered blow produced a blow in 
return, which was followed by a profuse discharge of apologies 
from the floor, further explanations not being required. In fact, 
a little muscle is not a bad adjunct to a martyr who is willing to 
prolong his misery. 

The obnoxious premises were several times reconnoitered by 
armed gangs, once by a company sent, in order to help to end 
the matter, from the east ; but a larger force was always at once 
found quietly awaiting the reconnoiterers, who thereupon retired. 
The reputation of the city being at stake, and having nothing to 
lose, the Americans were by no means unanimous in approving 
extreme measures. 

The " abolitionism" of the editor was, it is fair to say, of a 
very mild type, confined to the belief — until lately universal at 
the South — that slavery was an evil; he being by no means 
ready to propose any practical measures for its removal. Nor 
did any German with whom we conversed during our journey, 
so far as I recollect, go beyond this not very treasonable idea 
in actual politics. Any process of terminating slavery without 
regard to the established tenures of slave proprietors, would 
have an ex post facto nature, vitiating its benefits and making it 
inadmissible. But that, for Western Texas, laws should discour- 
age the further introduction of negroes, and offer inducements 
for the application of capital to varied employments, requiring 
educated laborers, they were not less decided. And in social 
relations, they are sensitive to the overbearing propensities of 
a proprietary who are accustomed to regard all neighbors out of 
their own class as White Trash, 



440 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

I have been thus particular in describing the condition and 
attitude of the Germans, as the position in which fortune has 
placed them, in the very line of advance of slavery, is peculiar, 
and so far as it bears upon the questions of the continued exten- 
sion of cotton limits, the capacity of whites for independent 
agriculture at the South, and the relative profit and vigor of 
free and slave labor, is of national interest. 

The presence of this incongruous foreign element of Mexicans 
and Germans tends, as may be conceived, to hinder any rapid 
and extensive settlement of Western Texas by planters. There 
are other circumstances contributing to the same effect. The 
proximity of the frontier, suggesting and making easy the escape 
of slaves, is a chief difficulty. Then there are the border dis- 
quiets from Indians, who regard slaves as fair booty when placed 
in their way. Besides which, the profit of cotton-planting far 
from market, is small, the distance, for large emigrant trains, 
fatiguing, and the long travel expensive. 

So great, too, is the force of custom, that thousands of emi- 
grants from the lower slave states, deliberately prefer an inferior 
soil covered with forest, to any field prepared by nature for the 
plow. They have never seen a good field free from the familiar 
stumps and half-burnt trunks ; and, shaking their heads, stop 
with their hands and their axes to conquer their own space, 
where the cabin shall be sheltered and secluded, as " at home." 

Planters have hitherto consequently settled in masses, al- 
most exclusively upon the Colorado and Lower Guadalupe 
bottoms, leaving the great remaining western pasture regions 
to their more natural occupation of herdsmen and small farm- 
ers. 

The herdsmen have no use for slaves, which are only 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 441 

adapted for working in gangs under constant supervision, 
and cannot be trusted in an employment requiring isolation 
and discretion. And both herdsmen and farmers find in the 
proximity and society of planters, a mutual incompatibility. 

The result has been the formation of a social condition, differ- 
ing from that of the rest of the State, which, if its development 
be not interfered with, will, probably, assimilate in general 
aspect to that of the western portions of . the Atlantic slave 
states, with such advantages as will accrue from a more fertile 
soil and greater wealth. 

It will only be by a forced and uneconomical change, that this 
prairie soil can ever be devoted to large plantations and cotton as 
their staple production. Beef and wool must, for a long 
time, yield a far more profitable return. Water, however, is 
abundant, and an intelligent population is already on the spot, 
perfectly adapted to become manufacturing, if capital be furnished 
it. These considerations render it probable that Western Texas 
will have ultimately a position similar to that of Western 
Virginia and Georgia, when the planting interest will remain 
subordinate to that of farmers and manufacturers. 

The population of Western Texas, in 1850, was about 41,000, 
of which 7,000 were slaves. It is now estimated at 93,000, 
divided roughly — as, Americans, 30,000 ; Germans, 25,000 ; 
negroes, 23,000 ;* Mexicans (excluding El Paso co.), 16,000. 

THE MEXICAN BORDER. 

That part of Western Texas lying near the Eio Grande, has a 
character of its own. It is a region so sterile and valueless, as 

* The principal increase in negroes has taken place in Gonzales, Guadalupe, 
Caldwell, and Fayette cos. The number of actual slaveholders is about 700. 
19* 



442 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS, 

to be commonly reputed a desert, and, being incapable of settle- 
ment, serves as a barrier — separating the nationalities, and pro- 
tecting from encroachment, at least temporarily, the retreating 
race. 

The extreme Texan settlements have reached the verge of this 
waste region. A line drawn from the head of the San Saba 
southward, to the upper waters of the Guadalupe, thence west- 
ward, along the mountain-range bordering the sterile plains, 
to the head of the Leona at Fort Inge, thence along the course 
of the Leona, the Frio, and the Nueces to the coast, will mark 
the limits of valuable land, of probable agricultural occupation. 

Along the coast lies a sandy tract, with salt lagoons and 
small, brackish streams. This is the desert country, which 
became familiar to our army on its way from Corpus to Point 
Isabel, at the outbreak of the Mexican war in 1846. It merges 
into the level coast prairies which, forty to sixty miles inland, 
become undulating and covered with a growth of prickly shrubs, 
upon a dry, barren, gravelly soil. The same character, with 
trilling variations, belongs to the whole region as far north as the 
Pecos, where the sterility becomes so great, that even the 
dwarfed shrubs disappear as the country rises into the great 
plains. 

The coast prairies have large districts of fertile soil, and, if 
supplied with water, might be available as pastures for rough 
cattle and sheep ; but water is only to be found in gullies 
and holes, where it is not only muddy and of bad quality, but 
liable to disappear entirely during the heats of summer, when 
even the grass withers and dries up. 

Mr. Bartlett, who crossed along the northern edge of these 
prairies in coming from the Kio Grande, at Einggold-barracks, to 






REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 443 

Corpus, describes the country as rising gently from the river for 
five or six miles, and covered with prickly shrubs. Then for five 
days, his waylay over slightly-rolling prairies, having clusters 
of mesquit trees, prickly pear, and some stunted live-oak, until, 
on the last day, the dead, bare level of the coast prairie was 
reached, some forty miles from Corpus. About midway, a white 
sand-hill — the Loma Blanca — was passed, near which was a 
large tract of dry sand. The first settlements were a starved 
ranch or two upon the Aguas Dulces, twenty miles from the 
Nueces. 

The valley of the Nueces contains much rich land, but 
low-lying and malarious. The river is navigable for small 
steamboats for about forty miles. The bar of Corpus has about 
six feet of water. 

The grassed region below the chaparral wilderness, extending 
to the coast, is the resort of immense herds of wild horses, as 
well as of numbers of deer, antelope, and hares. The mustangs 
are the degenerated progeny of Spanish estrays, now as wild and 
fully naturalized as the deer themselves. They associate in in- 
credible numbers, like the buffaloes, a single herd sometimes 
covering a large tract, and, if frightened, rushing to and fro in 
sweeping lines, with the irresistible force of an army. From 
their numbers are recruited additions to the stocks of Texan 
and Mexican herdsmen, and the business of entrapping them has 
given rise to a class of men called " mustangers," composed of 
runaway vagabonds, and outlaws of all nations, the legitimate 
border-ruffians of Texas. While their ostensible employment is 
this of catching wild horses, they often add the practice of 
highway robbery, and are, in fact, simply prairie pirates, seizing 
any property that comes in their way, murdering travelers, and 



444 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

making descents upon trains and border villages. Their opera- 
tions of this sort are carried on under the guise of savages, and, 
at the scene of a murder, some " Indian sign," as an arrow-head 
or a moccasin, is left to mislead justice. 

The wild horses are easily collected, by means of long fences, 
called " wings," diverging on either side from the mouth of a 
" pen." Having been driven within this, the mares of a herd are 
caught with the lasso, and the stallions, which do not repay break- 
ing, turned loose or wantonly shot. Here and there a " ranch" is 
established, forming a temporary home and retreat for the " mus- 
tangers." The herds probably suffer extremely in the dry 
season, and have been much injured during generations of expo- 
sure and hardship. They are narrow-chested, weak in haunches, 
and of bad disposition, and are worth about one tenth the price 
of improved stock, a herd tamed to be driven, selling, delivered 
at the settlements, at $8 to $15 per head. Many stories are 
told of the incurable viciousness of tamed mustangs. An old 
animal which you have ridden daily for twenty years, will, when 
his opportunity comes at last, suddenly jump upon you, and 
stamp you in pieces, his vengeance all the hotter for delay. 

No part of the immense remaining territory towards the 
North, seems to possess the slightest value. It is a dry gravelly 
desert, supporting only worthless shrubs. Such was distinctly 
its character at the point where we crossed it, and from all the 
definite description we could obtain from officers who had led 
trains, or scouting parties, here and there over it, or Texans who 
had traversed the various routes into Mexico, it nowhere offers 
more attractive features. Should it become desirable to plant 
settlements within it, for reasons other than economical, proba- 
bly a few spots might be selected, where a sufficiently good soil, 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 445 

with wood and water, exists for such a purpose, and it is also 
true, that our acquaintance with it is but limited and somewhat 
vague ; for what one calls desert, another calls prairie, and what 
to one is pure sand or clay, to another is a light or heavy soil — 
the impression depending much upon the soil the traveler has 
been accustomed to cultivate, as well as especially upon the sea- 
son in which his observation is made. 

The climate, which, throughout West Texas, begins to approach 
that of Mexico, has here become absolutely Mexican, and is 
marked by an extreme dryness — rain so seldom falling during 
the summer, that ordinary vegetation perishes for lack of moist- 
ure, leaving the soil to the occupation of such Bedouin tribes 
of vegetation as have the necessary powers of endurance. There 
are here a class of worthless shrubs, whose minute leaves spread 
as little surface as possible to the dry air, and whose limbs are stud- 
ded with the sharpest spines, as if to repel all animal life from seek- 
ing to share with their own roots this weak shade. They stand 
in clumps and patches, leaving intervals which may be traversed 
with more or less difficulty.* 

We saw this country in April, probably to the best advantage. 
Our road lay across a series of elevations, between the beds of 
insignificant brooks, tributaries of the Nueces. Several of these, 
dry in later months, contained now running water, and in their 
valleys, here and there, the gravelly soil was black, and grass was 
abundant beneath the shrubs, while upon the barren surface of 
the ridges, even the chaparral growth almost disappeared. The 
" bottoms" of two or three of these creeks were marked by a 
thin belt of wood, as hack-berry and elm, and those of the 

* The principal shrubs are mesquit, rosin-wood, or creosote plant, koeb- 
lerinia, and various species of yucca. 



446 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Nueces and of Turkey creek, its principal branch on our route, 
were well shaded by timber. Bat even at this season, pasturage 
was the only use that suggested itself for these lands, and this 
would be impracticable, where sheep would lose their whole 
fleece in the labyrinths of thorns, and cattle stray instantly out 
of sight, and beyond possible control. 

There is, however, one circumstance which ' may ultimately 
lead to important modifications in the fate of this region. It is 
the fact that a change has recently been gradually manifesting 
itself in its meteorological conditions toward a steadily increas- 
ing amount of moisture. By common Mexican report the com- 
mencement of this change is coincident with American occupa- 
tion. It is certainly, if well attested, a remarkable scientific 
phenomenon. In the settled districts of Western Texas, the evi- 
dence seems to have been so palpable as to have become a matter 
of common allusion. New springs were repeatedly pointed out 
to us ; upon our route into the hills north of San Antonio, at 
least three or four such were met with, and we were told of a 
neighboring farm which, when purchased, had its only water 
from the river, while since, first one, and, subsequently, four 
perennial springs had broken out upon it, whose flow was steadi- 
ly increasing. Around the city, irrigation, which, ten years 
before, had been indispensable, was almost entirely disused, the 
canals being suffered to fall out of repair, and all the farmers 
who have settled the vicinity trust their crops to the skies alone, 
as in the East. Our guide to the Eio Grande attested the fact> 
and observed that he had never before this trip found running 
water in the bed of one of the creeks (I think the Chican) which 
we crossed. 

The volume of water in all the Texan rivers has been ob- 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 447 

served to be increasing, and a number of streams, whose flow, 
at intervals, has been subterranean, are said to fill their superfi- 
cial beds. These facts connect themselves with an increased 
growth of trees and grass upon the plains. Julius Froebel re- 
ports having seen, near the Pecos, an abundant young growth 
of mesquit trees, beneath millions of old trunks which still 
stand, though they have been dead no one knows how long, 
while no intermediate growth exists, and among the present 
chaparral large stumps are not unfrequently to be found, indi- 
cating a former forest. We ourselves noticed a similar young 
growth of mesquit trees upon open prairies. 

These phenomena are thought to be explained by the compara- 
tive rarity of fires since Americans entered the country. Hundreds 
of miles, formerly burned over each year by Indians, now escape, 
and the young seedlings, then destroyed, have had time, where 
this has occurred, to become strong enough to resist prairie 
flame. This growth retards evaporation as well as the instant 
flowing off of rain water, so that freshets are fewer and streams 
more steady, while the retained water furnishes vapor to the 
summer atmosphere, for precipitation, upon slighter causes. 
The theory connects itself with those upon the original forma- 
tion of prairies, and must be left to the discussion of experts.* 

NORTHWESTERN TEXAS. 

Northwestern Texas has for its chief feature the Llano Es- 

* " Not a tree, not a blade of grass, is to be seen in its vicinity, yet, fifty years 
ago, the whole district was covered with forests, which might have lasted for 
centuries had not the improvident and wasteful spirit of the first adventurers 
wantonly destroyed those treasures which to their descendants would have been 
invaluable. Whole woods were burned in order to clear the ground, and the 
larger timber required for the mines is now brought from a distance of twenty- 
two leagues." — Ward, at Catorce. 



448 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

tacado, or Staked Plain, an immense desolate, barren table-land, 
stretching from the Canadian to the Pecos. It is a perfectly 
level desert, more than two thousand feet above the sea, desti- 
tute of water, bearing no tree, and, during a great part of the 
year, only dried grass, supporting no permanent animal life, and 
probably destined to be of little service to man. Its surface is 
unbroken by a hill or any projection, but here and there yawn 
canons, or horrid chasms, on the brink of which a traveler finds 
himself without the slightest warning, looking down a dizzy 
abyss, a thousand feet in depth, and a thousand feet across. 

This plain recalls the steppes, the pampas, and the great prai- 
ries of Hungary; but, owing to the almost total want of moist- 
ure, it has no similar value as a pasture. 

From its eastern base, whose edges are as marked and abrupt 
as the sides of its canons, flow the rivers which water Texas. 
On the south, it descends less abruptly into lower table-lands or 
barren elevated prairies, which subside irregularly into the region 
of chaparral. 

The Pecos forms a western boundary for these plains, but be- 
yond it no characteristic change occurs. It is itself a torrent 
of muddy drippings, flowing between high banks, and watering 
no arable soil. For hundreds of miles it furnishes the only 
supply of water for travelers, and the two roads from San Anto- 
nio to El Paso are compelled to unite in following its tedious 
course.* 

Between the Pecos and the Upper Kio Grande rises the rugged 

* Upon the lower road, by Fort Inge, which is most frequented, a chain of 
military outposts (Forts Davis, Lancaster, etc.) has been lately established for 
the purpose of overawing the roving Indians of the plains, and checking their 
forays upon the Texan settlements. By reports from them we may hope to 
have a better acquaintance with this region. The distance to El Poao. by this 






REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 449 

chain of the Guadalupe mountains. Here vegetation and moist- 
ure are found again, forests of pine and oak appearing upon the 
slopes. 

PACIFIC RAILROAD. 

It is across this forbidding country that it is proposed to build 
our southern railroad toward the Pacific. In respect of cli- 
mate it has a certain advantage over the more northern routes. 
But impediments more formidable than winter snows are to be 
met. A principal obstacle occurs at the outset, in the total want 
of water upon the Staked Plains. Wood or coal might, if ne- 
cessity demanded, be transported to suitable stations along the 
road, but a local water supply seems to be indispensable. With 
the design of removing, if possible, this preliminary objection, a 
party of engineers have been for two years at work, under orders 
of the Secretary of War, in ascertaining the practicability of bor- 
ing artesian wells upon the plains. The results are interesting, 
but, as yet, afford no practical solution of the difficulty. Upon 
the parallel of thirty-two degrees, and fifteen miles east of the 
Pecos, a first tube was sunk in 1855. Water was twice struck, 
first at three hundred and sixty feet, subsequently at six hundred 
and forty-one feet, but in neither case did it rise to within two 
hundred and forty feet of the surface. In 1856, a point, five 
miles further east, was chosen. The same streams were reached, 
and, at the depth of eight hundred and sixty feet a third, from 
which water rose to within one hundred and ten feet of the sur- 
face. The appropriation of forty thousand dollars being ex- 
road, is six hundred and seventy-five miles. It has been suggested that camels 
were well adapted to purposes of transportation upon these dry plains, and a 
ship-load has been lately procured by Government, and landed in good condi- 
tion upon the Texas coast. At last accounts they were at pasture upon the 
plantation of Major Howard, near San Antonio- 



450 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

hausted, operations have been discontinued. Captain Pope, who 
was in command, describes the geological formation as consist- 
ing of alternate strata of indurated clays and cretaceous marls, 
the latter, apparently, of fertilizing value. He also reports a 
novel source of fuel in the roots of the mesquit, which are found 
preserved beneath the soil, perfectly sound and hard, extending, 
sometimes, to the incredible depth of seventy feet. 

Should further perseverance succeed in obtaining from this 
source a permanent and sufficient supply of water, and engineer- 
ing skill produce a practicable means of crossing the gigantic 
caiions of the plains, there are still the rugged precipices of the 
Guadalupe mountains to be crossed before reaching the Eio 
Grande. Nor is the country beyond, though feasible so far as 
topographical considerations are concerned, better adapted to 
the support of a costly thoroughfare. In the various journeys 
through it, connected with his duties as boundary commissioner, 
Mr. Bartlett became, probably, more familiar with it than any 
other writer. The following is his appreciation of it : — u At 
the head-waters of the Concho, therefore, begins that great 
desert region, which, with no interruption save a limited valley, 
or bottom-land, along the Rio Grande, and lesser ones near the 
rivulets of San Pedro and Santa Cruz, extends over a district 
embracing sixteen degrees of longitude, or about one thousand 
miles, and is wholly unfit for agriculture. It is a desolate, bar- 
ren waste, which can never be rendered useful to man or beast, 
save for a public highway." Upon the Colorado desert, the 
obstacle of the absence of water again occurs, and the ranges 
of California mountains offer no trifling obstruction. There is a 
terminal objection, too, which is by no means insignificant — that 
the Pacific is reached, at last, at San Diego, which is still five 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 451 

hundred miles from San Francisco, the commercial goal, and 
that through an almost impassable country. 

Whether more advantageous routes can be found further north, 
it is not pertinent here to inquire; but, with these objections in 
view, the idea of a railroad, as a commercially economical pro- 
ject, from Texas to the Pacific, may be safely pronounced chi- 
merical. In a military point of view, it may become desirable, 
and, if necessary, can be built ; but the cost, both of construc- 
tion and preservation, must first be counted. 

THE RIO GRANDE. 

The Eio Grande flows, for a great part of its course, in a val- 
ley so narrow as to be frequently a mere chasm, and receiving 
few tributaries from the parched region through which it passes, 
scarcely enlarges its volume for a thousand miles above its mouth. 
In the neighborhood of El Paso, its banks recede and leave a 
limited tract of wooded bottom-lands, from a mile to two miles 
in width and thirty or forty miles in length. In this district has 
settled a population, almost entirely from the adjacent Mexican 
territory, of about ten thousand. 

From this point to the Pecos the river is bordered by rugged 
hills, flanking its course sometimes with enormous precipices, the 
bed of the stream being often so narrowed and obstructed, that 
furious rapids are occasioned. The immediate vicinity of the 
mouth of the Pecos, till now unexplored, has recently been vis- 
ited by an expedition from the military posts upon the El Paso 
road, against the remnant of the Lipan Indians, who had retreated 
to its fastnesses. The region is described as almost impenetra- 
ble — a wild chaos of rocky heights and gorges.* 

* The extermination of the old tribe of Lipans was nearly completed by this 



452 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Below the Pecos, the Eio Grande enters the more open chap- 
arral region ; but, until the coast prairies are nearly reached, no 
land of consequence occurs suitable for cultivation. Now and 
then a narrow meadow is found, and a few short fertile valleys 
lie upon affluent creeks. These are occupied frequently by old 
ranches, upon which a little cotton, sugar, and maize are raised 
by Mexicans. Irrigation is compulsory, no rain sometimes fall- 
ing for many months. An officer, who had lately been stationed 
a year or two at Laredo, told me that, at the end of July, no 
green thing was to be found within a radius of thirty miles from 
the town. In the neighborhood of Rio Grande city, and thence 
to the gulf, considerable tracts of arable land border the river. 
They have hitherto been little occupied by Americans — property 
of any kind along the river being somewhat insecure, and slaves 
particularly liable to be lost over the boundary. The necessity 
of irrigation is a great obstacle, also, to our impatient country- 
men. 

The river is regularly navigable for small steamboats, as far 
as Eoma. Were there sufficient commercial inducement, it is 
probable that a class of boats might be constructed to ascend as 
high as the Pecos, the chief impediment, beside mere shifting 
shoals, being the Kingsbury Rapids, near Presidio. Through 
these it is thought a channel might be opened at an expense of 
one hundred thousand dollars. 

The population along the east bank of the Lower Rio Grande 



expedition. They were found in several squads, one after another of which 
was surprised and nearly every man cut off. A very few escaped across the 
Rio Grande. Greater security seems now to be within reach of the frontier 
settlements, as, under date of Oct. 14, 1856, it is also stated that the remaining 
Comanches of the plains have formally consented to come upon the reservation 
upon the Upper Brazos. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 453 

may be estimated at from fifteen to twenty thousand, about half 
of which is concentrated around the towns of Brownsville and 
Eio Grande City. The region is the haunt of border outlaws 
and Mexican refugees, whose presence keeps the frontier society 
in a continual ferment of fillibusterism. 

BEYOND THE RIO GRANDE. 

The country adjacent to the Eio Grande, upon the Mexican 
side, corresponds, in general character, very closely to that just 
described. The limits of the great chaparral wastes are even 
further from the river, reaching the mountains of Chihuahua ; 
and the great region from El Paso to the boundaries of Tamau- 
lipas is a barren solitude, scarce trodden by any other foot than 
that of the Indian. Near Camargo begins the first valuable 
land, and the delta of the Rio Grange below extends itself wide 
to the southward, merging into the malarious coast-levels. Here 
is a soil well adapted to sugar and cotton ; but the Mexican 
occupants have as yet found their profit rather in herds and 
flocks than in the plow. 

Matamoros, the only town of consequence upon the river, 
supports a population of about twenty thousand by its foreign 
trade. The population of the villages above depend mainly 
upon their little household manufactures of wool for a miserable 
support. 

Further inland is the rich and densely populated valley of 
the Tigre, at whose head stand Monterey and Saltillo. The 
interval from the Rio Grande is abandoned to hopeless chap- 
arral. 

FURTHER ANNEXATION. 

There is a general opinion that portions of Mexico, adjoining 



454 a journey through'texas. 

Texas, are, sooner or later, " destined" to be annexed to the 
Union, to add to the number and power of the Slave States. An 
examination of the character of the country in question serves 
to materially diminish any such probabilities. If a line be drawn 
from the mouth of the Kio Grande, due west (along the twenty- 
sixth parallel) to the Pacific, the remaining territory of Mexico 
will be divided nearly equally ; but, in the northern half, though 
fine pastures and valuable mines might be acquired, no cotton 
lands are to be found. The only exceptions, of consequence, are 
those described near the present boundary, and a few sunny val- 
leys along the short, quick rivers of Sonora. The fertile lands 
of our part of the continent, lying in tracts suitable for the 
formation of states, are, in short, exhausted, and the prime mo- 
tive for further extension, disregarding mere political influences, 
is wanting. 

There are other difficulties. We have not yet made the experi- 
ment, in our experience of annexations, of absorbing any notable 
amount of resident foreign population. This territory contains 
upwards of half a million of Mexicans. The character and 
numbers of these people, and the physical peculiarities of their 
occupied lands, are such as to render it improbable that slavery 
can ever be extensively introduced, or naturalized among them. 
No country could be selected better adapted to a fugitive and 
clandestine life, and no people among whom it would be more 
difficult to enforce the regulations vital to slavery. 

The Mexican masses are vaguely considered as degenerate and 
degraded Spaniards ; it is, at least, equally correct to think of 
them as improved and Christianized Indians. In their tastes 
and social instincts, they approximate the African. The differ- 
ence between them and the negro is smaller, and is less felt, I 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 455 

believe, than that between the northern and southern European 
races. There are many Mexicans of mixed negro blood, who, 
in Northern Mexico, bear less suspicion of inferiority than our 
proletarian naturalized citizens. There are thousands in respecta- 
ble social positions whose color and physiognomy would subject 
them, in Texas, to be sold by the sheriff as negro-estrays who 
cannot be allowed at large without detriment to the common- 
wealth. 

There is, besides, between our Southern American and the Mexi- 
can, an unconquerable antagonism of character, which will pre- 
vent any condition of order where the tw T o come together. The 
Mexicans, in our little intercourse with them, we found as differ- 
ent as possible from what all Texan reports would have led us to 
expect. This was, probably, as much owing to our being able to 
meet them in a considerate manner, and to their responsive re- 
gard, as to any difference in standards of judgment. People 
commonly go into Mexico from Texas as if into a country in 
revolt against them, and return to boast of the insolence with 
which they have constantly treated the religious and social cus- 
toms, and the personal self-respect of the inhabitants. This 
arrogant disposition is not peculiar to the border class, nor to the 
old Texans. Nowhere is it better expressed, than in a book 
written before the war, by a Virginian who claims to be a friend 
of President Tyler, and who was appointed by him to a respons- 
ible office. The tone of condescension with which this gentle- 
man patronizes people who are evidently much his superiors in 
true refinement, education, wealth, and social dignity, is not 
less absurd than the indignant impatience with which I have 
heard a ruffian of the frontier describe the politeness, incompre- 
hensible to him, of Mexican hospitality. 



456 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The mingled Puritanism and brigandism, which distinguishes 
the vulgar mind of the South, peculiarly unfits it to harmoniously 
associate with the bigoted, childish, and passionate Mexicans. 
They are considered to be heathen ; not acknowledged as " white 
folks." Inevitably they are dealt with insolently and unjustly. 
They fear and hate the ascendant race, and involuntarily asso- 
ciate and sympathize with the negroes. 

Thus, wherever slavery in Texas has been carried in a whole- 
sale w 7 ay, into the neighborhood of Mexicans, it has been found 
necessary to treat them as outlaws. Guaranteed, by the treaty 
of Guadalupe Hidalgo, equal rights with all other citizens of the 
United States and of Texas, the whole native population of 
county after county has been driven, by the formal proceedings 
of substantial planters,* from its homes, and forbidden, on pain 
of no less punishment than instant death, to return to the vicini- 
ty of the plantations. 

This is sufficient indication of the nature of the impediments 
to any further advance of slavery in the southwest. Isolated 
noisy attempts at conquest will, no doubt, be made by border ad- 
venturers, but any permanent establishment of slavery beyond 
the Eio Grande is intrinsically improbable, unless the real 
speculators can arrange to have the army of the United States 
placed at their disposal. For this, it is true, precedent is not 

* A Southern paper, maintaining the conservative quality of slavery, lately 
observed : " Public outrages have been committed at the South, mobs have 
been raised, premises destroyed, persons outraged, and life taken, and all in the 
name of slavery ; but we have never known an instauce in which slaveholders 
themselves have been members of the mob. The actors have always been 
lewd fellows, of the baser sort — panderers to position and wealth that they 
could never aspire to, who thought that they might thus gain favor from slave- 
holders. But we have never known slaveholders who did not spurn and de- 
spise the truckling rowdies thus acting in their name." 

A rare confession this, of the real internal relations of the people of the South. 



REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS. 457 

wanting. The population of Tamaulipas and New Leon, first 
to be encountered, is, however, a long-established one, and too 
numerous for expulsion ; it will have ready resort to mala- 
rious jungles, chaparral covers and mountain fastnesses; to per- 
petual incendiarism and guerrilla descents, nor will it be withheld 
from resistance to usurpation and tyranny by reverence for the 

name of Constitution and Law. 
20 



NOTE UPON FARM PROFITS. 



There is room for discussion as to some of the items introduced into 
the agricultural tables at page 205, These are simply given as con- 
densing the results of our own inquiries, and must be taken with due 
allowance for our prejudices and mistakes. The elements of such calcula- 
tions are, of course, liable to modification by the market-prices and 
circumstances of each year. The general conclusion, however, that 
stock-raising is far more profitable to the individual and to the State, 
in Western Texas, than cotton-planting, will hold good. 

The estimate of the production of cotton to the acre or to the hand, 
in the tables, may be considered low, when compared with the state- 
ments of planters, given in other parts of the volume. Seven bales to 
the hand have been frequently noted. This may be set down, however, 
as a " brag crop," or, as mentioned in the interest of land-holding. The 
same planter in writing to his creditors, or when rallied upon his ex- 
treme profits, will deny that in a series of years he can average over 
three bales to the hand. 

In a report to the government upon the cotton capacities of the 
United States, Mr. Andrews makes four bales, of four hundred pounds, to 
the hand, the basis of his calculations. In conversation with in- 
telligent and disinterested Texans, I have been assured that what with 
floods, droughts, worms, and sickness of hands, an average of four bales 
was more than could be depended upon. A recent elaborate article 
upon the lands of Texas, in the " Austin State Gazette," gives six and 
a quarter cents as the average net price of Texan cotton. These figures 
all fall below those introduced in the tables. 

A slight difference is allowed for the greater cost of a home to the 
farmer than to the planter. Probably, in practice this would be more 
marked, the long- formed habits of the former compelling conformity to 
a higher standard of comfort. 



460 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

The price set upon sheep is sufficient to cover their purchase in the 
Ohio States, and the cost of their transit on foot. They can be pur- 
chased, already acclimated, at a slight advance. Sheep, yielding a fair 
fleece, are every year sold in New York market at less than two dol- 
lars, and are quoted at from two and a half to four and a quarter dol- 
lars, at New Orleans, November 28, 1856. At the time of our visit to 
Texas, Mexican sheep might be had at two dollars, delivered in any 
western county. They cannot now, I understand, be procured from 
this source. 

AN EMIGRANT'S PROSPECTS. 

A farmer, on a small scale, arriving in Texas with one thousand 

dollars, will expend it nearly as follows : 

Land, 160 acres— $400. 

Cabin and furniture — $150. 

Tools, wagon and working cattle — $150. 

Cows and pigs — $150. 

Temporary subsistence — $150. 

He will be able, after putting up his house, to plough and fence a field 
of twenty acres during the first year. The returns will be about five 
hundred bushels of corn, worth fifty cents (sometimes 25 cents, some- 
times $1 25), and, perhaps, fifty dollars for butter and pork sold, mak- 
ing three hundred dollars. He will require two-thirds of this for im- 
proving the condition of his family, and will invest the remainder in the 
purchase of sheep. 

The second year will add ten acres to his field, and the production of 
corn will be increased upon the land first ploughed, making his crop 
worth four hundred and twenty-five dollars. Laying aside two hun- 
dred dollars for his family, and adding seventy-five for smaller sales, 
he will have three hundred to invest in sheep, and will have now a flock 
of seventy. 

The third year will see his corn-field in complete cultivation, and 
yielding, permanently, twelve hundred bushels of corn each year. He 
will be able to obtain two or three improved bucks, and to number, by 
purchase and increase, a flock of one hundred and seventy-five sheep. 

By an easy calculation, his course, if he retain his industry, and meet 
with only ordinary losses, may thus be traced for ten years to the pos- 
session of a valuable farm, with herds and flocks which will insure him 
a comfortable subsistence without other personal labor than supervision. 

A laboring man, who has not one thousand dollars at command, will 
probably find his account in first accumulating that sum by working 



NOTE UPON FARM PROFITS. 461 

for others. Wages in Texas are a trifle lower than in the Northwest- 
ern States, but higher than in the Atlantic States. 

Cotton planting, by slave labor, with so small a capital as one thou- 
sand dollars, is impossible. A man owning only a negro worth that price 
must sell him, and become a farmer. Should he invest the first profits 
of his labor in negroes, a few figures will show that his progress must 
be far less rapid than that of the corn and sheep-farmer.* 

The parts of Texas best adapted to immigrant farmers, are Upper 
Western and Upper Northeastern Texas. A small planter will choose 
central Northeastern Texas, a large planter, the river-bottoms of Cen- 
tral Texas, where, with due regard to price of land, the access to mar- 
ket is most convenient. 

The cost of passage from New York to Indianola is about thirty 
dollars, and from the coast to Upper Texas, about fifteen dollars. 
Freight from New York to San Antonio is usually from one to three 
dollars per barrel, for light or heavy articles. 

The settlement should be fixed, where possible, for early winter, when 
exposure to sickness is smallest, and when time remains for the erection 
of a cabin and the preparation of a field before planting-time. 

Titles to land, it need hardly be advised, are to be closely scrutinized, 
before money is paid for them, and none should be accepted which will 
not bear the thorough investigation of the best local lawyer within 
reach. 

* " A St. Augustine paper informs us of the results of one small planter of that 
county, which is worth recording. On one acre, he raised and sold 450 gallons 
of syrup at 50 cents, 4 bbls. sugar at 6 cents, and 3,000 canes at 2 cents each, 
making a total of $433. Besides, he raised 150 bushels of corn, and 200 bushels 
of sweet potatoes, worth $370, giving a full total of $800. His land was in the 
piny woods, but he cow-penned it, which makes it the best soil for sugar-cane. 
With a little industry his family enjoyed all the milk and butter, eggs and 
bacon they wanted, and this $800 was in his pocket at the end of the year, and 
with the sum he bought a negro, and will this year go on at compound interest 
upon the fruits of his small capital. What a lesson this is to lazy people who 
stand about groceries, and get up an everlasting name for themselves, in our 
towns, of loafers and trifling fellows. By a little well-directed labor, they might 
thus secure a good reputation and a sterling reliance for their old age. What 
is done in Florida can be done, and is done, in Texas.' ' — Debow's Review. 



^iPIPEHSTDIX. 



HISTORICAL TABLE. 

THE PRINCIPAL DATA FROM YOAKUM'S HISTORY. 

1519. Cortes lands in Mexico. 

1535. First Viceroy of New Spain. 

1581. New Mexico explored. 

1590. Mission of Topia. 

1595. Monterey founded. 

1685. Feb. 18th. — Lasalle lands in Texas, upon the western shore of Matagorda 

Bay. 

1686. Fort St. Louis established upon the Lavaca. 
Spanish established at Monclova, in Coahuila. 

1687. Lasalle killed, while exploring near the Neches Eiver. 
Fort St. Louis destroyed by Indians. 

1689. April. — First Spanish expedition from Monclova, under De Leon, into 

Texas, against the French. 

1690. Second expedition of De Leon. Mission of San Francisco established 

upon the ruins of Fort St. Louis, and the Mission of San Juan Bautista 
upon the Rio Grande, at Presidio. 

1691. Several colonies attempted in Eastern Texas by Teran. 
1693. Colonies all abandoned, and Texas left without Europeans. 

1714. August. — French trading expedition under St. Denis reaches the Mission 

of San Juan, upon the Rio Grande. 

1715. Re-occupation by Spain. Missions of San Antonio, Dolores, Adaes, and 

Nacogdoches founded. 

1716. Second French trading expedition of St. Denis to the Rio Grande. 

1718. War between France and Spain. 

1719. Spanish outposts in Eastern Texas driven in by French troops from Nat- 

chitoches, to San Anlonio. Re-established by De Aguayo. 
1721. French expedition to Matagorda Bay. Repulsed by Indians. 

Mission of La Bahia established by De Aguayo. Additional missions 

at San Antonio. 
1726. Trade revived between French and Spanish settlements. 



464 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

1730. San Antonio town founded by immigrants from the Canaries. 

1731. Mission of Concepcion founded. 
1734. Sandoval Governor of Texas. 
1740-50. Colonies languish. 

1744. Church of the Alamo founded. 

1758. Massacre at Mission San Saba, by the Indians. 

1762. Louisiana ceded to Spain. 

1765. Europeans in Texas number about 750. 

1778. Growth, by immigration, of Nacogdoches. 

1794. Texan Missions declared secularized, by Don Pedro de Nava. 

1795. Treaty with Spain confirming to Americans the right of navigation of the 



An American trade with Texas springs up. 

1800. Nolan' 8 trading expedition attacked and broken up by Spanish troops 

upon the Brazos. 

1801. Louisiana transferred to Prance. 

1803. Louisiana purchased by the United States. 

1805. Petty Spanish aggressions along the Sabine. U. S. frontier-posts strength 

ened. Texan colonies reinforced. 

1806. Neutral ground agreed upon between the Arroyo Honda and the Sabine 
Pike's expedition to New Mexico. 

First American actual settlers in Texas. 
Population of Texas about 7,000. 

1807. Burr's expedition. 

1809. First revolutionary movements in Mexico. 

1810. Revolt of Hidalgo. He is defeated and executed the following year. 

1811. Robberies by freebooters of the Neutral Ground. 

1812. Expedition of McGee and Gutierres from Red River, for the conquest 

and republicanization of Texas. Capture of La Bahia. 

1813. March. — Battle of Rosalis. Surrender of San Antonio. 

August. — Battle of the Medina. Rout of the Americans. Annihilation 
of the expedition. 

1814. Dispersal of freebooters at Barrataria. 

1816. Galveston island occupied by a republican expedition. Aury declared 

Governor of Texas and Galveston. Perry joins. 
Mina's expedition against Florida. It fails. He joins the forces at Gal 
veston. Great booty in goods and negroes from Spanish prizes. The 
slaves taken are sold into Louisiana. 

1817. Expeditionists sail from Galveston and capture Soto la Manna. Rout 

and death of Mina. Retreat and death of Perry at La Bahia. 
Occupation of Galveston by Lafitte. His followers number 1,000. 
Temporary settlement by French refugees upon Trinity River. 
1819. Feb. 22. — Treaty making the Sabine boundary between United States 

and Spain. 
Texas invaded from Natchez by a company under Long. 
Provisional independent government established at Nacogdoches. 
First printing-office at Nacogdoches. 









APPENDIX. 465 

1819. Long solicits aid from Lafitte. Appointed Kepublican Governor of 
Galveston. The expedition is routed by Spanish forces. Re-assembles 
at Bolivar Point. 

1821. Feb. 24. — Pronunciamento of Iturbide, at Iguala. 

Aug. 24. — Plan of Iguala. Regency of six. Iturbide President. 

Lafitte's establishment broken up by the United States. 

Long goes by sea to West Texas, and captures La Bahia. Is subse- 
quently made prisoner, and killed in the city of Mexico. 

Moses Austin (native of Durham, Ct, a speculator in Virginia and Mis- 
souri mines) conceives the idea of establishing American settlements, 
and visits Bexar, 1820. Applies for permission to colonize 300 faini 
lies. Is robbed and maltreated upon his return to the States, and dies 
June 10, 1821. His application is granted, and his son, Stephen F. 
Austin, undertakes the enterprise. The colonists to be Louisianians, 
of good character, Roman Catholics (or to agree to become so before en- 
tering), and to take oath of fidelity to the king and government of Spain. 

Aug. 19. — The plan sanctioned in detail by the Governor of Texas. Aus- 
tin selects lands near the Brazos, and advertises in New Orleans for 
colonists. In November, first expedition. A few American families 
settle on the Brazos and Colorado. 

1822. Austin proceeds to Mexico. He meets, at Mexico, H. Edwards and other 

applicants. 
Iturbide made Emperor. 

1823. Jan. 4. — General colonization law promulgated. Its provisions as above, 

but colonists may be other than Louisianians. 

Sale or purchase of slaves prohibited; all born in the empire are to be- 
come free at 14. 

Feb. 18. — Austin's grant specially confirmed. 

Revolt of Santa Anna. Constituent Congress. Austin's grant re -con- 
firmed. Austin returns to his colony, which has rapidly grown. 

1824. Second general colonization law enacted, providing for special laws by 

the several states. 
Federal Constitution proclaimed, 4th October 
Texas united with Coahuila, to form a State of the confederacy. 

1825. Saucedo appointed " Political Chief" of Texas. 

Decree inviting colonists, who are bound to make oath to obey the Con- 
stitution, and observe the Catholic religion. 

Grants to Robert Leftwich, for 200 families ; to Hayden Edwards, for 
800 ; to Austin, for 500 additional ; to Green Dewitt, for 300 ; and to 
Martin De Leon, for 150. 

United States Minister instructed by Mr. Clay to purchase Texas if 
practicable. 

1826. Difficulties in H. Edwards's grant at Nacogdoches. His contract an 

nulled by the Governor. His colonists resist. They style themselves 
Fredonians, and (Dec. 18) fortify themselves. Saucedo marches 
against them. Austin takes an adverse part. They are overpowered 
The grant of Edwards made oyer to Burnet & Vehlin 
20* 



466 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

1827. Colonies rapidly advance in population. Gonzales laid out. Third 

grant of Austin for 100 families. 
United States again offers to purchase Texas. 

1828. Fourth grant to Austin, for 300 families. 

1829. Power's grant, for 200 families ; McMullen &, McGloire's grant. 
Expulsion of Spaniards from Mexico decreed, March. 
Spanish descent at Tampico. 

Unlimited powers conferred upon President Guerrero. 

Slavery abolished in the Mexican Republic, by a decree of Guerrero. 

Guerrero deposed, Dec. 23. 

Bustamente usurps the Presidency. Guerrero shot. 

Repeated offers on the part of United States for the purchase of Texas. 

1830. April 6. — Decree suspending colony contracts, and forbidding further 

settlement of Americans. Further introduction of slaves prohibited. 
Custom-houses established at Nacogdoches, San Antonio, Copano, Ve- 

lasco, and Galveston. 
Teran appointed Commandant-general of the Eastern States. 
Martial law introduced by Bradburn, Mexican commander at Anahuac 

(Galveston). 
Americans now number 20,000. Mexican troops in Texas about 800. 

1831. Immigration continues, and the new-comers demand titles. 

The State Land Commissioner arrested by Teran, and confined at Ana- 
huac. Petty military tyrannies. Americans become incensed. 

Troops sent to enforce federal measures ; to be paid from revenues col- 
lected at Texan ports. 

Order closing all ports except Anahuac. Resisted by the Americans, 
and rescinded under threats of immediate attack upon Anahuac. 

Texas divided into two districts by State law, the " political chiefs" hav- 
ing separate jurisdiction. 

1832. Travis and Munroe Edwards imprisoned by Bradburn for punishing a 

soldier's outrage. Their release demanded. Two or three hundred 
armed men appear, ready to invest Anahuac. Manifesto of adherence 
to the constitution of 1824, detailing wrongs. Prisoners released, and 
Bradburn removed by Piedras. 

Revolt of Vera Cruz under Santa Anna. Resignation and flight of 
Bustamente. 

Texans " pronounce " for Santa Anna and the constitution of 1824, attack 
and take the military fort at Velasco. A force from Matamoros arrives 
under Mexia, with whom they fraternize. Resolutions expressive of 
the sentiments of the colonists presented to Col. Mexia, at San Felipe. 
Col. Piedras holds out at Nacogdoches ; attacked and defeated by Texans. 

State colonization law modified excluding Americans. 

Texans demand a separation from Coahuila ; convention for drafting a 
state constitution. 

Sam Houston enters Texas. 

1833. Santa Anna elected President. 

Adjourned Texan convention prepares a constitution and a memorial to 



APPENDIX. 467 

1833. supreme government. Austin sent delegate to Mexico. He writes 
advising Texans to take matters into their own hands. He is arrested, 
and suffers three months' imprisonment. 

1834. Texas divided into three departments, having each a " political chief." 

English language admitted by State law in public affairs. Free land 
sales established, with provision that no one shall be molested for po- 
litical or religious opinions. Trial by jury introduced. Subsequent 
disorganization of the state government by local quarrels. Conven- 
tion called to consider the necessity for a provisional government. 
The Texan memorial heard at Mexico. Decisions unfavorable. Austin 
released, but detained. Report on Texas by Almonte. He estimates 
the population at 21,000. (Probably 30,000.) 

1835. State land bills passed in the interest of speculators. 
Federal law by Santa Anna, disarming the population. 

Gen. Cos ordered by Santa Anna to disperse the legislature at Monclova. 
Legislature adjourns. The Governor retreats toward Bexar, but is 
arrested. State government dissolved. First " Committee of Safety" 
at Bastrop, May 17, upon Indian outrages. Troops at Anahuac attacked 
and driven out by W. B. Travis, the Texans declining to be taxed for 
the support of a local standing army. 

Cos declared Governor by Santa Anna. Public commotion. News of 
near arrival of an army for "regulating matters" in Texas. A war- 
party and a peace-party form. 

June 22. — Meeting and " address" of the war-party. Militia of Brazos 
district organized. July 17. — Meeting at San Felipe ; peace policy 
prevails. Resolutions for resistance to Santa Anna on the Navidad. 
Committee of Safety at Nacogdoches. Order given by the Mexican 
commandant for sundry arrests of Texans, particularly of Zavala, by 
Santa Anna. War spirit aroused. Resolutions of the people of San 
Augustine, led by Houston, in favor of the Constitution of 1824, etc., 
and organizing the militia. Reinforcements of troops sent to Texas. 
Austin returns, Sept. 1. Favors a general Consultation. 

Santa Anna seizes the government. 

War appears inevitable. Intelligence that Cos is approaching, to dis- 
arm the population, and drive out all colonists introduced since 1830. 
Austin, as Chairman of Committee of Safety, declares war the only 
resource, and advises volunteer companies. 

Cos lands with 500 troops, and marches toward Bexar. Order from the 
commandant at Bexar for the surrender of a piece of artillery at Gon- 
zales. Texans refuse compliance. A cavalry force of 100 men sent to 
enforce the order, attacked by Texans and driven off, Oct. 1. 

Texan Revolution begun. 

State Legislatures abolished, and central power of Santa Anna confirmed. 

Permanent Council of one from each committee of Safety established at 
San Felipe, Royall President. Austin takes command of the forces 
gathering at Gonzales. Resolved to drive the Mexicans out of Texas. 

Goliad is surprised and taken, with military stores, Oct. 9. 



468 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

1835. Austin advances toward Bexar with 600 men. 

People of the United States called on to assist. Troops sent from New- 
Orleans, 17th and 19th Oct. 

Oct. 28. — The Mexican forces engage Austin's advance at the Mission 

Concepcion, and are routed. 
Printing-press and newspaper at San Felipe. 

Council at San Felipe assumes the reins of government. It prepares an 
address to the people of the United States, grants letters of reprisal, 
and authorizes a loan. 

Nov. 3. — Meeting of the Consultation, 55 in number ; Branch T. Archer 
President. Declares in favor of Constitution of 1824. Establishes a 
Provisional Government of Governor and Council, and elects a Com- 
mander-in-chief. Adjourns to 1st March, 1836. Henry Smith elected 
Governor ; Houston, Commander-in-chief. Bexar besieged. Skirmish, 
Nov. 26, known as the " Grass-fight." 

Dec. 5th.--Bexar assaulted under Milam ; 8th, enemy driven into the Alamo 
9th, capitulation. Cos and his army withdraw beyond the Rio Grande 

Unfortunate descent on Tampico, under Mexia, from New Orleans. 

Regular army decreed ; to be 1,120 strong, enlisted with bounty of 640 acres 

Quarrels between the Governor and Council. 

Dec. 17. — Demonstration upon Matamoros ordered. 

Feeling strong in favor of Declaration of Independence. It is affirmed to 
be premature by the Council. 

Dec. 25. — Volunteers arrive to the number of 200, from Georgia and 
Alabama. 

30th. — Dr. Grant sets out, without orders, from Bexar, with 200 men, for 
Matamoros. 
1836. The Council invade the functions of the Governor ; 11th Jan., they order 
him to cease his functions. 

Jan. 7. — Fannin appointed by the Council agent for concentrating at Co 
pano volunteers against Matamoros. 

Jan. 17. — Houston orders the fortifications at Bexar to be demolished, 
and the artillery to be brought away. Order disobeyed for want of 
transportation. Travis dispatched with a small force to aid Bexar. 

Loans of $250,000 procured in New Orleans. 

Feb. 1. — Santa Anna sets out from Saltillo, with 6,000 men. 

Urrea, with a smaller force, sent, via Matamoros, to San Patricio. 

March 1. — The Convention meets by adjournment. 
" 2. — It declares Texas an Independent Republic. 
" 4. — Houston appointed Commander-in-chief. 
11 6. — He sets out for the West. 

" 16. — Constitution adopted, providing a President, and Congress of 
two houses ; introducing " common-law," and dividing Texas by coun 
ties. David G. Burnet elected temporary President. 

Santa Anna reaches San Antonio, Feb. 23. The Alamo assaulted and 
carried, March 6. ' Its defenders massacred. 

Urrea, at San Patricio, Feb. 27, routs and slaughters the Texan force. 






APPENDIX, 469 

Battle of the Coleta. Fannin, moving from Goliad to Victoria, is sur- 
rounded by Urrea's force, March 19. He capitulates. 26th. — Orders 
from Santa Anna that the prisoners be shot. 27th. — Massacre of Goliad ; 
Fannin and 330 prisoners shot in cold blood. 
Houston reaches Gonzales, March 11. News of fall of the Alamo. His 
force, 374 men. He burns Gonzales, and falls back. 17th. — Encamps 
on the Colorado with 600 men. 19th. — Resolved to remove the seat of 
government to Harrisburg. Two-thirds of the militia called into ser- 
vice. Powder and arms seized. Houston again falls back, 26th. 
Reaches the Brazos, 28th. Crosses the Brazos, April 13th, 
Santa Anna leaves Bexar, March 31 — arrives at San Felipe, with the ad- 
vance, April 7 — crosses the Brazos on the 12th, at Fort Bend, and 
marches to Harrisburg, reaching it, with seven hundred men, on the 
15th. Houston follows, and arrives at Harrisburg on the 18th — crosses 
the bayou, 19th — and follows the Mexicans. 
20th. — Advance continued — meets the scouts of the Mexicans returning 
to Lynch's Ferry. Line of battle formed — skirmishes ensue. Caval- 
ry reconnoissance under Sherman. Mexicans construct a breastwork. 
21st, a. m. — Cos joins Santa Anna with reinforcements. Vince's Bridge 
cut away by Houston, who resolves to give battle. 3 p. m. — Battle of 
San Jacinto. Under a fire of artillery, Texans advance with the cry: 
"Remember the Alamo," reserving their fire till within pistol-shot. 
Mexicans give way at all points, and are massacred by the furious 
Texans, who remain complete masters of the field. Texan Force, 
783— Mexican, 1,600. Mexican loss— 630 killed, 208 wounded, 730 pri- 
soners ; camp-chest taken containing $12,000. Texan loss — 8 killed, 
25 wounded. 
22d. — Santa Anna made prisoner. Signs an armistice, and orders the 

retreat of his reserves. 
1 4th May. — Treaty signed, at Velasco, by Santa Anna — providing for 
the withdrawal of Mexican troops. A private treaty binding Santa 
Anna to acknowledge the independence of Texas. Houston goes to 
New Orleans. Rusk takes command of the army. Filisola retreats 
to the Rio Grande. Santa Anna embarks for Vera Cruz, but is 
brought back. 
April 20. — Commissioners sent to Washington, with instructions to pro 

pose annexation. 
15th July. — An army of four thousand Mexicans, under Urrea, assem- 
bles at Matamoros. Texan detachments sent to the Nueces. Santa 
Anna requests the mediation of General Jackson. American troops 
sent to Nacogdoches to overawe the neighboring Indians ! 
September 1. — Houston elected President. Constitution adopted, and an- 
nexation demanded by the people. Town of Houston founded. 
October 1. — Congress meets. Government organized in detail. 
United States claims pressed upon Mexico. Minister demands his pass- 
ports. Mexican minister leaves Washington. Santa Anna sent by 
Houston to Washington, whence he returns to Vera Cruz. 



470 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

1837. March. — Bustamente chosen President of Mexico. 

March 2. — Independence of Texas recognized by the United States. 
Political convulsions in Mexico. Texas peaceful. Immigration con- 
tinues. Port of Galveston grows up. 

1838. Mexican war with France. Diplomatic relations of Mexico with the 

United States resumed. Mirabeau B. Lamar elected President of 
Texas. Quietness continues. 

1839. Centralists prevail in Mexico. 

Indians, incited by Mexico, disturb Texas. 

Commercial relations established with England. France recognizes 

Texan Independence. 
Austin founded, and made capital. 

1840. Texas scrip reduced to fourteen cents on the dollar. Twelve newspapers 

published in Texas. Mexican hostility diverted by intestine troubles 
England, Holland, and Belgium acknowledge Texan independence. 

1841. Great efforts to secure a loan in Europe. Mexico declines negotiations. 

Yucatan declares independence, and makes a naval alliance with 
Texas. Skirmishes on the Rio Grande. Santa Fe expedition of about 
three hundred and twenty-five men, with the object of securing the 
submission of New Mexico and opening trade. After great suffering 
on the plains, the party is divided, made prisoners by the Mexicans, 
and marched, with atrocious cruelties, to Mexico city. 

September. — Sam Houston elected President. Sixth Congress meets 
The debt and paper issues of the Government extremely embarrass- 
ing. Houston recommends a temporary repudiation of all liabilities, 
the issue of exchequer bills, and the negotiation of a loan. A Bel- 
gian loan not accepted by Congress ; exchequer bills, redeemable in 
specie, authorized. 

October 6. — Santa Anna again displaces Bustamente. 

1842. Mexican hostilities revived. Seven hundred troops enter Texas, take 

San Antonio and Refugio, and immediately retire. San Antonio re- 
occupied by Texan forces. Invasion of Mexico proposed. Recruits 
assemble at Corpus Christi. They are disorganized by poverty, and, 
after repulsing a small Mexican attack, are disbanded. Mediation of 
the United States rejected by Mexico. 

September. — San Antonio again taken by one thousand two hundred 
Mexicans under Woll. 13th. — Fight on the Salado, and repulse of the 
Mexicans, who retreat on the 18th toward the Rio Grande. A Texan 
force of seven hundred and fifty men assembles on the Medina, and 
marches to Laredo ; takes Guerrero, and returns to Bexar. Three hun- 
dred men remain, contrary to orders, upon the Rio Grande, attack 
Mier, meet a Mexican force under Ampudia, and eventually surren- 
der. The prisoners are marched to Mexico. They rise on the guard, 
11th February, 1843, and escape. Becoming bewildered in the moun- 
tains, they are recaptured, and decimated by order of Santa Anna. 

Increased immigration. Several colony contracts entered into — Peter's, 
Mercer's, Castro's, Fisher &l Miller's. 



APPENDIX. 471 

1843. Irregular propositions for peace, by submission, from Santa Anna. Snive- 

ly's expedition for the capture of a Mexican caravan to the United States. 
Through the intervention of the English Charge at Mexico, Santa Anna 
proposes an armistice. Accepted and proclaimed, June 15. Contin- 
ued negotiations through English channels. Strong efforts to hasten 
annexation by the American Government. 

1844. Secret message upon annexation by President Houston to Texan Con- 

gress. Commissioners, dispatched to Washington with full proposi- 
tions. French and English Governments protest. Treaty of annexation 
signed at Washington, 12th April, and sent to the Senate. Parties 
divide in the United States upon the question. The treaty rejected, 
8th June. Armistice with Mexico terminates 18th June. 

England and France renew endeavors to secure the complete independ- 
ence of Texas. Texas prosperous. Immigration continues to flow in. 
Anson Jones elected President. Remaining Mier prisoners liberated. 
War of the Regulators and Moderators of the Neutral Ground. 

United States election results in the sanction of annexation and the suc- 
cess of Polk. 

Herrera made President of Mexico ; federalist and favors peace. 

1845. March 1. — Joint resolution of annexation passed Congress, and signed 

by President Tyler. 

Peace offered by Herrera, through the agency of the French and Eng- 
lish, on condition of non-annexation. Armistice proclaimed 4th June. 
Texan Congress, June 23, consents to annexation. The act of annexa- 
tion accepted, and State Constitution submitted by the Convention, 
July 4, to the people, by whom it is ratified. 

July 25th. — American army arrives at Corpus Christi, under General 
Taylor. 

1846. January 13. — Taylor ordered to advance to the Rio Grande. Hostilities 

begin, April 24. Battle of Palo Alto, May 8 ; of Resaca, 9th ; of 
Monterey, September 23. Santa Fe captured, August 24. 

1847. Battle of Buena Vista, February 22. 
Vera Cruz surrenders, March 29. 
Mexico surrenders, September 14. 

J. Pinckney Henderson Governor of Texas to December 21. 
George T. Wood Governor of Texas from December 21. 
Population of Texas, by State census, 143,205. 

1848. Peace signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 22. Ratified at Quere 

taro, May 30. Mexico evacuated, June 12. 

1849. Z. Taylor elected President of the United States. 
P. H. Bell Governor of Texas from December 21. 

1850. Texas boundary-question settled by payment of ten million dollars by 

the United States, and New Mexico made a territory, September 9. 

1851. P. H. Bell re-elected governor. 
1853. E. M. Pease, governor. 

1855. E. M. Pease re-elected governor 

1856. Population of Texas about 425,003. 



472 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS 



POPULATION. 

Population of Texas (Europeans) in the year 1765, about 750 

" " " " 1806, 7,000 

" (Americans) " 1830, 20,000 

" " " " . 1834, 30,000 

STATE CENSUS OF 1847. 

White males, 58,338 

White females, 45,503 

Total white, 103,841 

Free colored, 304 

Slaves, 39,060 

Population of State, 143,205 

U. S. CENSUS OF 1850. 

Whites, 154,034 

Slaves, - 58,161 

Free colored, 397 

Population of State, 212,592 

Adults who cannot read and write, whites, - - 10,525 

" " " free colored, - 58 

Total, 10,583 

Born in foreign countries, whites, .... 17,620 

" " free colored, - 61 

Total 17,681 

Number of slave-owners, 7,747 



APPENDIX. 



473 



POPULATION BY C O UNT I E S — I 850. 







Population. 


Counties. 










White. 


Colored. 


Total. 


Anderson, .... 


2,284 


600 


2,884 


Angelina, 










945 


220 


1,165 


Austin, 










2,286 


1,555 


3,841 


Bastrop, 










2,180 


919 


3,099 


Bexar, 










5,633 


419 


6,052 


Bowie, 










1,271 


1,641 


2,912 


Brazoria, 










1,329 


3,512 


4,841 


Brazos, 










466 


148 


614 


Burleson, 










1,213 


500 


1,713 


Caldwell, 










1,054 


275 


1,329 


Calhoun, 










867 


243 


1.110 


Cameron, Starr, 


Webl 


5, 






8,469 


72 


8;541 


Cass, 










3,089 


1,902 


4,991 


Cherokee, 










5,389 


1,284 


6,673 


Collin, . 










1,816 


134 


1,950 


Colorado, 










1,534 


723 


2,257 


Comal, . 










1,662 


61 


1,723 


Cook, 










219 


1 


220 


Dallas, 










2,536 


207 


2,743 


Denton, 










631 


10 


641 


De Witt, 










1,148 


568 


1,716 


Ellis, . 










902 


87 


989 


Fannin, 










3,260 


528 


3,788 


Fayette, 










2,740 


1,016 


3,756 


Fort Bend, 










974 


1,559 


2,533 


Galveston, 










3,785 


744 


4,529 


Guadalupe, 










1,171 


340 


1,511 


Gillespie, 
Goliad, 










1,235 


5 


1,240 










435 


213 


648 


Gonzales, 










891 


601 


1,492 


Grayson, 










1,822 


186 


2,008 


Grimes, 










2,326 


1,682 


4,008 


Harris, 










3,756 


912 


4,668 


Harrison, 










5,604 


6,218 


11,822 


Hays, 










239 


128 


387 


Henderson, 










1,155 


82 


1.237 


Hopkins, 










2,469 


154 


2,623 


Houston, 










2,036 


685 


2,721 


Hunt, . 










1,477 


43 


1,520 


Jackson, 










627 


369 


996 


Jasper, 










1,226 


541 


1,767 


Jefferson, 










1,504 


332 


1,836 


Kaufman, 










932 


65 


1,047 


Lamar, 










2,893 


1,085 


3,978 


Lavaca, 










1,139 


432 


1,571 


Leon, 










1,325 


621 


1,946 


Liberty, 










1,623 


899 


2,522 


Limestone, 










1,990 


618 


2,608 






474 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 
POPULATION BY CO UNTIE S — 1850. 



Counties. 


Population. 










White. 


Colored. 


Total. 


Matagorda, ..... 


913 


1,211 


2,124 


Medina, 








881 


28 


909 


Milan, . 








2,469 


438 


2,907 


Montgomery, 








1,439 


945 


2,384 


Nacogdoches, 








3,758 


1,435 


5,193 


Navarro, 








1,943 


247 


2,190 


Newton, 










1,255 


434 


1,689 


Nueces, 










650 


48 


698 


Panola, 










2,676 


1,195 


3,871 


Polk, . 










1,542 


806 


2,348 


Red River, 










2,493 


1,413 


3,906 


Refugio, 










269 


19 


288 


Robertson, 










670 


264 


934 


Rusk, . 










6,012 


2,136 


8,148 


Sabine, 










1,556 


942 


2,498 


San Augustine, 








2,087 


1,561 


3,648 


San Patricio, 








197 


3 


200 


Shelby, 








3,278 


961 


4,339 


Smith, . 








3,575 


717 


4,292 


Starr, see Cameron, 

















Tarrant, 








599 


65 


664 


Titus, . 








3,168 


468 


3,636 


Travis, 








2,336 


802 


3,138 


Tyler, 








1,476 


418 


1,894 


Upshur, 








2,712 


682 


3,394 


Van Zandt, 








1,308 


40 


1,348 


Victoria, 








1,396 


623 


2,019 


Walker, 








2,663 


1,301 


3,964 


Washington, 








3,166 


2,817 


5,983 


Webb, see Cameron, 

















WhartOn, 








510 


1,242 


1,752 


Williamson, 








1,410 
154,034 


158 


1,568 
212,592 


Total, 










58,558 



POPULATION OF TOWNS — 1850. 



Galveston, . . . 4,177 (a) 

San Antonio, . . . 3,488 (a) 

Houston, . ... . 2,396 

Neu-Braunfels, . . 1,298 

Marshall, .... 1,189 

Victoria, .... 806 

Frederickburg, . . 754 

Austin, .... 629(b) 

Corpus Christi, . . 533 

Nacogdoches, . . . 468 

Indianola, . . . 379 

(a) 1853, 7,000. 1856, 10,000. 

(b) 1855, 3,200. 

(c) 1853, 1,000. 



C astro ville, 

Rusk, 

Richmond, 

Lavaca, 

Palestine, 

Bonham, 

McKinney, 

Crocket, 

Brenham, 

Natchitoches, 

Shrieveport, 



853. 
1853 
(f) 1853, 



400. 
500. 
3,000. 



366 

355 

323 

315 (c) 

212 

211 

192 

150 (d) 

(e) 

1,261 
1,728 (f) 



APPENDIX. 475 



LAND AND PRODUCTIONS. 

CENSUS OF 1850. 

Improved Farm Land ; acres, 639,117 

Unimproved Farm Land . . . . " 10,759,220 

Cash Value of Farms $16,398,787 

Value of Implements and Machinery . . $2,133,831 

Horses, Asses, and Mules . . . head, 87,767 

Neat Cattle " 917,524 

Sheep : " 99,099 

Swine . . " 683,604 

Value of Live Stock . ... $10,267,710 

Wheat bush., 41,729 

Indian Corn . .... " 5,978,590 

Oats " 198,717 

Tobacco lbs., 66,897 

Cotton \ .bales of 400 " 57,596 

Wool " 131,374 

Peas and Beans ..... bush., 179,337 

Irish Potatoes " 93,548 

Sweet Potatoes " 1,332,955 

Butter < lbs., 2,308,080 

Cheese ....«.." 94,619 

Sugar ...... hhd. 1,000 lbs., 7,351 

Molasses > gall'., 441,638 

Beeswax and Honey .... lbs., 380,682 

Value of Orchard Products .... $12,505 

Value of Market Gardens .... $12,354 

Value of Home Manufactures . $255,724 



476 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS 



INCREASE OF SLAVES— 1850 to 1855. 

From the Report of the State Comptroller for 1855. 

Estimated Production of Cotton in 1855, from the " State Gazette." 



Counties. 


1850. 


1850. 


1855. 


1855. 




Slaves. 


Bales. 


Slaves. 


Bales. 


Anderson 


600 


734 


1.917 


2,345 


Angelina 






196 


174 


291 


260 


Austin . 












1,549 


3,205 


2,353 


4,868 


Bell 












— 


— 


406 


3 


Bastrop 












919 


1,478 


1,748 


2,811 


Bosque 












— 


— 


34 


— 


Bexar 












389 


— 


979 


— 


Bowie 












1,641 


1,113 


1,866 


2,500 


Burnet . 












— 


— 


150 


31 


Brazoria 












3,507 


3,531 


4,292 


4,300 


Brazos . 












148 


142 


427 


420 


Burleston 












500 


1,010 


1,047 


2,115 


Caldwell 












274 


122 


1,171 


519 


Coryell 












— 


— 


139 


28 


Calhoun 












234 


109 


310 


144 


Cameron* 












53 


— 


15 


— 


Cass 












1,902 


1,573 


3,518 


2,912 


Cherokee 












1,283 


1,083 


2,286 


1,778 


Collin . 












134 


1 


432 


3 


Colorado 












723 


4,771 


1,580 


9,480 


Comal . 












61 


10 


126 


20 


Cook 












1 


— 


123 


— 


Dallas . 












207 


44 


481 


100 


Denton 












10 


— 


74 


— 


De Witt 












568 


547 


963 


1,000 


Ellis m 












77 


— 


517 


— 


Fannin . 












528 


374 


1,019 


708 


Freestone 












— 


— 


2,167 


4,517 


Fayette 












1,016 


1,194 


2,072 


2,473 


Fort Bend 












1,554 


2,465 


1,746 


2,869 


Falls 












— 


— 


851 


633 


Galveston 












714 





761 


— 


Guadalupe 












333 


182 


1,637 


900 


Gillespie 












5 


— 


63 


— 


Goliad . 












213 


— 


416 


— 


Gonzales 












601 


1,271 


2,136 


4,517 


Grayson 












186 


5 


602 


16 


Grimes 












1,680 


2,282 


3,124 


4,455 


Harris . 












905 


11 


1,084 


— 


Hill . 












— 


— 


254 


13 


Harrison 












6.213 


4,581 


7,013 


5,170 


Hays 












128 


2 


517 


7 


Henderson 












81 


31 


411 


157 


Hopkins 












154 


8 


352 


23 


Houston 












673 


750 


1,595 


1,450 


Hunt 












41 


5 


198 


24 


Johnson 












— 


— 


120 


19 


Jackson 












339 


290 


717 


580 


Jasper . 






541 


359 


991 


650 



h Including Starr and Webb. 



APPENDIX. 



477 



Counties. 


1850. 


1850. 


1855. 


1855. 




Slaves. 


Bales. 


Slaves. 


Bales. 


Jefferson 


269 


2 


216 


2 


Kaufman . . 


65 


6 


329 


30 


Lamar . 


1,085 


1,055 


1,296 


1,300 


Lavaca 


432 


526 


1,004 


1,217 


Leon 


621 


913 


1,455 


2,0.7 


Liberty 


892 


253 


922 


263 


Limestone 


618 


603 


680 


670 


Matagorda . 


1,208 


1,613 


1,529 


1,932 


McLennan 


— 


— 


1,048 


1,217 


Medina 


28 


— 


25 


— 


Milam . 


436 


— 


713 


— 


Madison 


— 


— 


429 


3 


Montgomery 


945 


1,009 


1.448 


1,688 


Nacogdoches 


1,404 


835 


1,702 


1,026 


Navarro 


246 


o 


1,135 


9 


Newton 


426 


152 


602 


214 


Nueces . 


4? 


— 


89 


— 


Orange 

Panola . ; 


— 


— 


185 


174 


1,193 


887 


1,990 


1,560 


Polk 


805 


582 


1,427 


1,100 


Red River 


1,406 


579 


1,807 


826 


Refugio 


19 


— 


148 


— 


Robinson 


264 


429 


1.239 


2,013 


Rusk 


2,136 


2,659 


3,620 


4,508 


Sabine . 


942 


702 


800 


596 


San Augustine 


1,561 


1,020 


1,382 


939 


San Patricio 


3 


— 


21 


— 


Shelby 


961 


790 


775 


637 


Smith 


717 


415 


2,414 


1,397 


Star, see Cameron 


— 


— 


— 


— 


Tarrant 


65 


— 


280 


— 


Titus 


467 


292 


1,208 


755 


Trinity . 


— 


— 


260 


122 


Travis i 


791 


234 


2,068 


611 


Tyler 


418 


184 


752 


331 


Upshur 


682 


673 


1,784 


1,760 


Van Zant 


40 


57 


125 


179 


Victoria 


571 


270 


850 


401 


Walker . 


1,301 


873 


2,758 


1,852 


Washington 


2,817 


4,008 


4 ; 399 


6,246 


Webb, see Cameron . 


— 


— 


— 


— 


Wood 


— 


— 


354 


290 


Wharton 


1,242 


2,892 


1,798 


4,187 


Williamson 
Sum total 


155 


— 


757 


— - 


58,161 


58,072 


105,974 


105,111 



478 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



ASSESSED VALUES OP PROPERTY FOR TAXATION.* 



Years. 


Land. 


Negroes. 


No. Acres 


Value. 


Value 


No. as- 


Value. 


Value of 




assessed. 


$ 


Acre, 


sessed. 


$ 


each, $. 


1846 


31,967,480 


17,776,101 


55* 


31,099 


10,142,198 


324 


1847 


30,440,210 


17,326,994 


57 


39,251 


12,174,593 


310 


1848 


32,160,184 


20,777,412 


64f 


40,610 


13,398,490 


. 323 


1849 


32,890,887 


20,874,641 


65 


43,534 


14,658,837 


337 


1850 


32,640,400 


21,807,670 


66| 


49,197 


17,776,500 


361 


185L 


37,731,774 


31,415,604 


83i 


59,959 


26,246,668 


404 


1852 


37,838,792 


33,116,772 


875 


68,795 


28,628,990 


416 


1853 


39,175,858 


39,256,612 


1-00 


78,713 


35,946,473 


456 


1854 


44,580,946 


49,961,177 


112 


90,612 


46,501,840 


513 


1855 


45,893,869 


58,671,126 


1-28 


105,603 


53,373,924 


505 


Years. 




Horses and Cattle. 


Other Property. 


Number 


Value. 


Value per 


Money at interest, 






assessed. 


$. 


head. $. 


goods in stores, etc. 


1846 - - 


. . 


411,100 


2,929,378 


712 


3,543,501 


1847 - - 


- - 


448,971 


3,392,784 


712 


4,668,134 


1848 - - 


. - 


581,251 


4,174,475 


716 


5,461,666 


1849 - - 


. . 


631,649 


4,419,015 


7-00 


5,847,516 


1850 - - 


. . 


750,352 


5,222,270 


7-00 


6,675,175 


1851 - - 


. . 


901,794 


6,638,115 


7-35 


8,639,797 


1552 - - 


- . 


1,020,832 


7,977,999 


7-82 


11.030,423 


1853 - - 


- - 


1,164,463 


10,217,499 


8-78 


13,734,530 


1854 - - 


- - 


1,377,472 


13,465,805 


9-08 


17,052,795 


1855 - - 


- - 


1,615,609 


16,936,423 


10-48 


20,539,978 



TOTAL VALUE OF PROPERTY. 



Years. 


Aggregate tax- 
able property. 


Increase tax- 
able property. 


Increase 
per cent. 


1846 .... 

1847 ..-. 

1848 .... 

1849 .... 

1850 .... 

1851 .... 

1852 .... 

1853 .... 

1854 .... 

1855 .... 


34,391,175 
37,562,505 
43,812,537 
46,241,589 
51,814,615 
69,739,581 
80,754,094 
99155,114 
126,981,617 
149,521,451 


3,171,330 

6,250,032 

2,429,052 

5,573.026 

17,924,966 


16f 

o| 
121 
33 2 L 
16 2 
23 
28i 
17 2 



* Comparative Statistics of Iowa. — " Permission to settle in this State 
was first granted to the white man on the 1st June, 1833. The rapidity with 



APPENDIX, 



479 



PRODUCTION OF COTTON AND SUGAR. 



IMPORTS AND EXPORTS, 


ETC. 






COTTON. 


1837, 


50,000* 


1846, cotton shipped, bales, 










27,000 


1849-50, " " 










31,000t 


1850-51, " " 










46,000 


1851-52, « " 










64,000 


1852-53, " " 










85,000 


1853-54, " " 










. 107,906 


1854-55, " " 










80,737 


1855-56, " " 










. 116,078 



SUGAR.— 1850. 



Counties producing Sugar. 


Sugar, hhds. 
of 1,000 lbs. 


Molasses, 
gallons. 


Austin, 

Brazoria, 

Fort Bend, 

Houston, 

Liberty, 

Matagorda, 

Rusk, 

Victoria, 

Wharton, 


60 

4,811 

100 

82 

115 

1,394 

101 

120 

317 


4,195 
314,164 

420 

340 

4,820 

73,000 

1,090 

6,700 

11,490 


7,100 


416,219 



Sugar crop of 1852-3, 
" " 1854-5, 

" 1855-6 (to Sept.), 



11,023 hhds., of 1,000 lbs. 
9,875 « 
7,513 



which the torrent of immigration poured into this "Western Paradise," as the 
earlier travelers in this locality designated it, may be inferred from the fact, 
that the official returns of the territorial census, taken in May, 1838 gave her 
a population .oi 22,859 ; and that of the United States census, taken in 1840, 
43,112; showing an average annual increase of over 44 per cent. Since that 
time, she has bounded forward with an extraordinary rapidity, numbering, by 
the census returns, taken June, 1850, within her borders, a population of 
192,214 ; exhibiting an average annual increase for the decennial period, ending 
in 1850, of over 44 per cent. ! ! ! 

' ; With the view of presenting at a glance the increase in the value of property, 
we have referred to the assessment-rojis of this State, and we find that the total 
value of all kinds of property, in the year 1852, was $38,427,376; and that of the 
year 1849, was $18,496,151 ; showing an increase in the value of property, for 
three years, of about twenty millions of dollars, or an increase of over 107 per 
cent. ! ! !" — De Bow's Review, Nov., '53. 

* Yoakum. t From Neill Brothers' Cotton Circular, 1856. 



480 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, 

1854. 

Exports to foreign countries, $1,314,449 

Imports, 231,423 

Tonnage entered, 5,249 

" cleared, 9,708 

" owned in the State, 9,698 

Steam tonnage owned in the State, 2,815 

Cotton exported to foreign countries, bales, .... 18,467 

ADJOINING MEXICAN STATES.* 

Tamaulipas. 
Population 100,000 ; area 30,000 square miles 

Nuevo Leon. 
Population 133,000 ; area 16,000 square miles. 

Coahuila.. 
Population 56,570 ; area 66,228 square miles. 

Chihuahua. 
Population 147,000 ; area 100,000 square miles. 

Sonora. 
Population 147,000 ; area 123,000 square miles. 

* From LippincotVs Gazetteer, 1855. 



APPENDIX 



481 



VOTE OF TEXAS 

in 1855. 





Congress. 


Land C 


om. 1855. 


President, 1852. 


Districts. 
i. 














K.N 


Dem. 


K.N. 


Dem. 


Whig. 


Dem. 




Hancock. 


Bell. 


Crosby. 


Fields. 


fccott. 


Pierce. 


Austin, . 


230 


372 


160 


- 436 


7 


22 


Bastrop, 






305 


394 


216 


458 


94 


243 


Bell, 








150 


329 


111 


320 


26 


157 


Bexar, 








573 


1,711 


132 


2,079 


299 


804 


Bosque, . 








43 


9 


27 


29 


t 


t 


Brazos, 








72 


29 


11 


95 


9 


34 


Brazoria, 








91 


258 


142 


202 


43 


143 


Burleson, . 








124 


262 


99 


249 


19 


103 


Burnett, . 








115 


* 103 


91 


128 




21 


Caldwell, 








263 


315 


171 


282 


84 


235 


Calhoun, 








108 


160 


207 


50 


94 


125 


Cameron, 








* 


* 


* 


*• 


242 


329 


Colorado, 








108 


229 


232 


9 g 


30 


92 


Comal, 








13 


337 


32 


308 


6 


112 


Con- veil, . 








125 


221 


201 


144 


t 


t 


De Witt, 








85 


248 


212 


128 








Ellis, 








177 


147 


241 


105 


43 


90 


El Paso, 








116 


636 


760 





t 


t 


Falls, 








129 


80 


187 


15 


t 


t 


Fayette, 








308 


504 


395 


311 


165 


341 


Fort Bend, 








50 


219 


122 


134 


31 


86 


Freestone, . 








247 


27 


75 


331 


8 


138 


Galveston, 








251 


442 


122 


496 


141 


324 


Gillespie, 








51 


245 


44 


220 


2 


74 


Goliad, . 








126 


103 


31 


201 








Gonzales, . 








411 


399 


449 


334 


120 


209 


Grimes, . 








428 


166 


191 


204 


53 


142 


Guadalupe, 








255 


331 


268 


307 


68 


154 


Hams, 








274 


542 


352 


446 


195 


468 


Hays, . 








83 


60 


103 


53 


21 


55 


Hidalgo, . 




















48 


119 


Hill, . 








85 


57 


117 


19 


t 


t 


Jackson, 








51 


105 


137 


20 


33 


90 


Johnson, 








64 


182 


182 


55 


t 


t 


Karnes, . 








68 


111 


87 


85 


t 


t 


Lavaca, 








175 


284 


233 


201 


. 33 


85 


Leon, 








359 


1()[ 


29 


462 


48 


124 


Limestone, . 








236 


127 


298 


36 


38 


J7Q 


Madison, . 








117 


43 


26 


123 


t 


t 


Matagorda, . 








10 


205 


216 


6 


30 


74 


McLennan, 








178 


180 


231 


106 


5 


45 


Medina, 








7 


240 


7 


235 


2 


42 


Milan, 








181 


129 


127 


145 


56 


119 


Montgomery, 








214 


163 


326 


47 


74 


120 


Navarra, 








310 


189 


466 


30 


89 


220 


Nueces, 








53 


282 


274 


49 


21 


52 


Refugio, . 








48 


90 


89 


45 


t 


t 


Robertson, . 








211 


3 I 


58 


178 


53 


95 


San Patricio, 








4 


51 


53 


14 





30 


Starr, . 




8 


306 


169 


137 


68 


76 



Note. — Those marked thus * no returns 
21 



Those marked t are new counties. 



482 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS 



VOTE OF TEXAS IN 1855. 

(Continued.) 



Districts 
i. 


Congress. 


Land C 


om. 1855. 


President, 1852 


K.N. 


Dem. 


K.N. 


Dem. 


Whig. 


Dem. 




Hancock. 


Bell. 


Crosby. 


Fields. 


Scott. 


Pierce. 


Tarrant, 


166 


477 


613 


74 


11 


61 


Travis, 


491 


507 


295 


690 


118 


370 


Victoria, 


114 


170 


109 


172 


9 


96 


Walker, . 


316 


235 


78 


476 


72 


228 


Washington, . 


461 


483 


. 366 


446 


121 


519 


Webb, 





302 


132 


167 


16 


117 


Wharton, 


31 


106 


70 


69 


17 


59 


Williamson, 
Total, 


227 


282 


217 


278 


62 


143 


9,496 


14,379 


10,389 


12.522 


2,824 


7,561 



Majority for Bell, 4,883 j majority for Fields, 2,133 ; majority for Pierce, 4737. 



II. 


Evans. 


Ward. 


Crosby. 


Fields. 


Scott. 


Pierce. 


Anderson, . 


536 


380 


676 


186 


150 


412 


Angelina, 


84 


13 


93 


16 


28 


56 


Bowie, 


39 


218 


16 


189 


t 


t 


Cass, 


409 


408 


420 


278 


30 


75 


Cherokee, . 


685 


904 


797 


766 


248 


696 


Collin, . 


342 


246 


536 


81 


58 


135 


Cooke, 


67 


126 


181 


2 


5 


14 


Dallas, . 


205 


341 


348 


186 


122 


283 


Denton, 


120 


112 


207 


11 





37 


Fannin, . 


563 


204 


565 


22 


68 


208 


Grayson, 


442 


260 


565 


68 


58 


19S 


Harrison, 


674 


391 


67 


934 


283 


402 


Henderson, 


219 


102 


264 


12 


23 


74 


Hopkins, 


387 


295 


184 


344 


29 


116 


Houston, 


197 


339 


292 


274 


46 


125 


Hunt, 


272 


231 


360 


131 


19 


121 


Jasper, 
Jefferson, 


78 


175 


242 


2 


30 


121 














t 


+ 


Kaufman, . 


208 


125 


168 


106 


t 


t 


Lamar, 


290 


428 


363 


246 


57 


189 


Liberty, 


160 


131 


75 


248 


40 


87 


Nacogdoches, 


291 


488 


(542 


79 


79 


312 


Newton, 


77 


81 


116 


3 


16 


111 


Orange, . 














23 


39 


Panola, 


277 


404 


181 


398 








Polk, . 


164 


195 


130 


250 


75 


157 


Red River, 


300 


276 


279 


275 


86 


233 


Rusk, 


837 


883 


862 


857 


242 


59!) 


Sabine, 


155 


68 


197 


8 


13 


81 


Shelby, . 


228 


314 


258 


271 


19 


106 



Note. — Those marked t are new counties. 



PENBIX. 



483 



VOTE OF. TEXAS IN 1855. 


— [Conti rived,.) 




District it. 


Evans. 


Ward. 


Crosby. 


Fields 


Scott. 


Pierce. 


Smith, . 


548 


617 


371 


719 








St. Augustine, . 


122 


200 


146 


160 


29 


158 


Titus, 


430 


286 


641 


46 


100 


240 


Trinity, 


127 


56 


170 


13 


3 


17 


Tyler, 


94 


247 


310 


57 


5 


52 


Upshur, 


310 


504 


310 


438 


137 


361 


Van Zandt, . 


143 


92 


168 





5 


43 


Wood, 
Total, 


229 
10,342 


171 


289 


65 


15 

2,141 


42 


10,311 


1 11,489 


7,741 


5,891 



Majority for Evans, 31 ; majority for Crosby, 3,748 ; majority for Pierce, 3,750. 

Total Vote of State.— Crosby, 21,878 ; Fields, 20,263 ; Scott, 4,965; Pierce, 
13,452. Majority for Crosby, 1.615 • majority for Pierce, 8,487. 

1856. No exact information has yet been received, from the largest part of 
Texas, of the vote of the election of November, 1856. (Dec. 24th, 1856.) 



TABLE OF ELEVATIONS, 

ABOVE THE LEVEL OF THE OCEAN. 

Feet 
Trespalacios, corner of the stone warehouse, ... 6£ 

Galveston, . . . . . . . . . .10 

Lavaca, . 24 

Guadalupe, at the mouth of Sandies, 50 

Houston, ... - 60 

Austin 200 

Columbus, 250 

Gonzales, 270 

Cibolo, 350 

San Antonio, 635 

Castroville, 767 

Fort Inge, 845 

L^ona Mountain, nea* Fort Inge, &>0 

Rio San Pedro, first crossing, 859 

« last <•* 1,827 

Table-lands of Texas, 2,091 

Howard's Spring, 2,075 

High table-land' beyond, . ... .3,008 

Live Oak Creek, 2,338 

Rio Pecos Valley, from 2,330 to 2,658 

Rio Escondido, first crossing, 2,660 

Leon Spring, 4,240 

Limpia, first crossing, . 3,950 

fainted Camp, ... ■ .-. 5,020 

Highest point of the road to El Paso, .... 5,765 

Providence Creek, 5,492 

Eagle Spring, 4,842 

First point on the Rio Grande, 3,700 

El Paso, 3,750 

Mouth of Little Wichita, 750 

Big « 900 

Junction of the south and north forks of Red River, . . 1,100 
Head of the main or south fork of Red River, . . . 2,450 
Llano Estacado (Staked Plain), . . . from 2,300 to 2.500 



484 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



METEOROLOGICAL NOTES. 
Neu-Braunfels, Lat.29°42'; Lon. 21° 14'.— 1853 



July. 

Ther.—" 1 " an for mo., 7 A. M., 77° 
2 P.M., 91° 
11 " 9 P. M., 77" 

Monthly mean, - - - 81-2-3 
Highest, - 101° 

Four days, - - .- 100° 

Lowest, .... 66° 
Barometer. — Mean for month, 27-9 7-31 

August. 

Theiv— Mean for mo., 7 A. M., 77° 
" 2 P.M., 94" 
" " " 9 P. M., 77" 

Merely mean, - - - 82-2-3 
Highest, - - 100© 

One day only, - - - 100° 
Lowest in morning, - - 73° 
Barometer. — Mean for month, 27-8 7-10 

July. — Calm 10 times at 7 A. M. 

"0 "2 P. M. 

"0 "9 P. M. 

Prevailing wind, south, 1 to 3. 

Aug. — Calm 12 times at 7 A. M. 

" "0 "2 P. M. 

" " 1 " 9 P.M. 

Prevailing wind, south, 1 to 3. 



Sept. — Calm 5 times at 7 A. M. 
" " 2 P.M. 

u " " 9 P.M. 

Prevailing wind, south. 



October. 



Theiv 



-Mean for mo., 7 A. M., 59» 
11 " 2 P. M., 77" 

" 9 P. M., 63° 
Monthly mean, - - - 66 1-3 

Barometer. — Mean for month, 27*8 3-4 
Prevailing wind, north. 

November. 

Ther. — Mean for mo., 7 A. M., 54° 

2 P. M., 70° 

" 9 P.M., 56° 

Monthly mean, - - - 60° 
Barometer. — Mean for month, 27'9 1-2 
Prevailing wind, north. 

December. 

Ther.— Mean for mo., 7 A. M., 44° 
" " " 2 P. M., 61° 

" 9 P.M., 47° 
Monthly mean, - - - 51° 
Barometer. — Mean for month, 27*9 1-7 
Prevailing wind, north. 



THERMOMETER. 



WIND. — Direction and Force. 





7 A.M. 2 P.M. 


9 P.M. 


1854- 


-Jan. 1 


48° 


62° 


43° 




" 2 


32 


65 


45 




" 3 


41 


61 


55 




" 4 


59 


75 


61 




" 5 


63 


59 


33 




" 6 


23 


22 


23 




" 7 


23 


49 


35 




" 8 


30 


59 


48 




" 9 


51 


70 


59 




" 10 


44 


54 


41 




" 11 


31 


61 


49 




" 12 


41 


58 


43 




" 13 


34 


62 


47 




" 14 


63 


78 


70 




" 15 


67 


43 


36 




" 16 


23 


48 


45 




« 17 


42 


50 


50 




« 18 


54 


70 


69 




" 19 


68 


79 


33 




" 20 


21 


— 


— 



7 A.M. 


2 P.M. 


9 P. M. 





S.W.2 


S.S.W. 1 


N. 1 


S.S.W. 3 


N.W. 1 





S.4 


. S. 1 


S. 3 


N. 3 


N. 6 


N. 5 


N. 6 


N. 5 


N. 4 


N. 2 


N. 1 


N. 1 


N. 1 


N. 1 


*N.i 


S. 3 








S.S.W. 2 


N. 2 


N 2 


N. 3 


N. 2 


N. 1 


S.S.W. 4 


S.S.W. 4 


N. 1 


N. 4 


N.2 





S.S.E. 1 


— 


S. 2 


S.4 


S.4 





N. 4 


N. 5 


N. 4 


N. 2 


N. 1 


N.N.E. 1 


N.N.E 1 








S. 1 


S. 4 


S. 2 


S.E. 2 


N. 6 


N. 4 J 


— 


— 



APPE NDIX. 



485 



SISTERDALE, GUADALUPE HILLS.— 1852. 



Date. 


Time. 


Lowest 
Ther. 


Time. 


Highest 
Ther. 


Prevailing 
Wind. 


Jan. 1 


2 A.M. 


26-8 


2 P.M. 


68 


Still. 


" 2 


6 " 


30-9 


2 " 


684 


it 


" 3 


7 " 


304 


3 " 


719 


S. 


u 4 


7 " 


343 


2 " 


62-8 


N.W. 


" 5 


7 " 


383 


2 " 


63-2 


<< 


" 6 


7 " 


23-9 


2 " 


61 


S. Still. 


u 7 


7 " 


343 


2 " 


61-4 


" 


" 8 


6 " 


28-6 


3 " 


72-9 


w. 


« 9 


7 " 


38-7 


2 " 


788 


(( 


"10 


6 " 


473 


12 M. 


60-1 


N.W. 


"11 


4 " 


27-7 


3 P.M. 


56 


S. Still. 


" 12 


8 P.M. 


24-1 


7 A.M. 


32 


Norther. 


" 13 


7 A.M. 


10 


2 P.M. 


38-5 


N.W. 


" 14 


7 " 


207 


3 " 


457 


W. and S. 


" 15 


7 « 


28-2 


3 " 


574 


N.W. 


" 16 


7| " 


264 


2 " 


647 


S. Still. 


" 17 


4 " 


54 


12 M. 


65-8 


S. 


" 18 


8 P.M. 


23-4 


1 P.M. 


33-4 


N. 


" 19 


7 A.M. 


14 


3 " 


365 


N. Still. 


"20 


7 " 


183 


3 " 


511 


Still. 


"21 


7 " 


20-3 


3 " 


545 


" 


"22 


7 " 


201 


3 " 


50 


« 


"23 


7 " 


365 


3 " 


45-3 


a 


" 24 


8 " 


41 


2 " 


511 


a 


"25 


7 " 


43-7 


12 M. 


66-6 


k 


"26 


6£ " 


335 


1P.M. 


636 


w. 


"27 


7 " 


27-5 


2 " 


69-4 


" 


"28 


7 " 


27-8 


2 " 


— 


— 



NORTHEASTERN TEXAS. 

Observations of Mr. Smith, in 1849. 



Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Mav22 


12 M. 


84 


May 29 


1.45 P.M. 


70 


it 


3-30 P.M. 


88 


"31 


3-45 " 


82 


a 


1030 " 


76 


June 1 


2 


88 


«• " 23 


2-30 " 


86 


" 2 


9-30 A.M. 


80 


CI 


730 " 


78 




9 P.M. 


76 


" 24 


3 " 


86 


" 3 


2 " 


82 


" 25 


815 A.M. 


70 


tt 4 


3 " 


82 


a 


12 M. 


80 


" 5 


7 A.M. 


74 


a 


445 P.M. 


82 


" 6 


1230 A.M. 


74 


" 26 


7-45 " 


77 


" 8 


7-30 " 


78 


" 28 


9 


79 


I " 10 


12 M. 


88 


" 29 


515 A.M. 


58 









486 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



NORTHWESTERN TEXAS. 

Observations by Capt. Marcy, in 1852, on Upper Red River. 





Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Wind. 


.9 


Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Wind 




rd 


May 4 


4 P.M. 


88 


S.E. 


& 


May 9 


7 P.M. 


76 


S.E. 




<* 


9 " 


76 


(< 




'« 10 


5 A.M. 


68 


'* 




o 


" 5 


3 " 


77 





R 


(< 


12 M. 


86 


(< 




U J 


3 " 


80 


S.E. 






7 P.M. 


76 


<( 






u 


7-30 do. 


72^ 


" 




" 11 


630A.M. 


68 


u 




a,o 


• ( 


9 


70 


" 


R 


a 


10-30 " 


89 


" 




1^ 


" 8 


5 A.M. 


68V 


SEbyS 


R 


u 


8-30P.M 


71 


" 




t< 


2 P.M. 


84k 


S.E 




" 12 


6 A.M. 


68 V 


'• 




u 


8-30 do. 


72 


" 




" 


4 P.M. 


77 


a 


R 


" 9 


630A.M. 


68 


E. 


R 


« 


7-30 do. 


73 


SEbyS R 


w*o 


it 


1 P.M. 


86 


S.E. 










l 




M'yl3 

u 


6 A.M. 

7 " 


69 
65 


N.W. 


R 


M'yl6 


430P.M. 

7-30 do. 


64 

57| 


NNE. 
NNW 




,«" 


u 


2 P.M. 


85 


<< 




" 17 


5 A.M. 


44 V 


N. 




03 


u 


9 " 


64 


K 




** 


7.45P.M. 


51 


N. 






u 14 


6-30A.M. 


57x 


WNW 




" 18 


430A.M. 


40 


N.E. 




<D 


u 


12 M. 


82-1 


S. 




" 


3-45P.M- 


79 


S. 




rQ 


" 


10 P.M. 


69 


a 




u 


8-45 do. 


70 


S.E. 


I? 


03 


" 15 


5 A.M. 


66 


S.E. 




" 19 


5 A.M. 


60 


E.S.E. 


H 


" 


3 P.M. 


81 


" 




» 


6 " 


59 


N.N.E 


R 




(< 


930 do. 


72 


a 




(< 


J2M. 


61 


E.N.E 






" 16 


5 A.M. 


66 


N. 




" 21 


6 P.M. 


75 


N.E. 






M'y22 


6.15P.M. 


71k 


N.E. 




M'y25 


245P.M. 


86 


S. 




r*4 


''23 


1245A.M. 


64 


a 




» 


7-30 " 


67i 


WNW 




0> 


« 


7 P.M. 


58 


(i 


R 


" 26 


615A.M. 


62 


N.W. 


R 


5-( 


" 24 


6 A.M. 


62 


N. 


R 


" 


130P.M. 


76 


H 




« 


1230P.M. 


80 


. S. 




it 


8-30 " 


64 


N. 







(< 


2 P.M. 


74 


" 




" 27 


5-30A-M 


611 


N.W. 




o 


<( 


730P.M. 


65 


it 




" 


6-15 " 


66 


N. 






" 25 


6-30A.M. 


65 


S.E. 


R 


(< 


Midnight. 


64 


" 




M'y28 


7 A.M. 


64 


N. 




June 3 


730P M. 


70 


N. 




" 


9 " 


76 






" 4 


230A.M 


60 


u 




« 


730P.M. 


69 


N.W. 




a 


1-30P.M. 


76 


ti 




" 29 


3 30A.M. 


61 


s.w. 




« 


7 


67i 


ti 


a' 

o 


u 


9 P.M. 


— 


" 




" 5 


1 -30 A.M. 


49i 


N.W. 


o 


" 30 


930 do. 


70 


" 




(i 


12 M. 


77 


" 


0) 


" 31 


330A.M. 


— 


14 




t< 


7 P.M. 


65 


S.W. 


13 


<( 


1015P.M. 


66 


S.E. 




" 6 


230A.M. 


54 


s. 


£ 


June 1 


230A.M. 


63 


S.W. 




t( 


12 M. 


73 


N.W.R 


fcac 


" 


2 P.M. 


88 


u 




" 


7 P.M. 


64 


N. R ! 


o 


" 


7-30 do. 


76 


s. 




" 7 


430A.M. 


58 ^ 


(< 


" 2 


245A.M. 


69 


" 




u 


12 M. 


83 


(i 




u 


11-15 " 


84 


It 




u 


7 P.M. 


67 


N.E. 




(( 


7 P.M. 


79 


S.E. 




" 8 


2-30A.M 


46 


ti 




" 3 


215A.M. 


70 


*« 


R 


u 


12 M. 


75 


S. 




<< 


12 M. 


86| 


N.E. ! 




u 


730P.M. 


65 % 


u 



APPENDIX, 



487 



NORTHWESTERN TEXAS. 
Observations by Capt. Marcy, in 1852, on Upper Red River. 

{Continued.) 



MO 



Date. 



Tune 9 
« 10 

a 
u n 

u 

" 12 



Time. 


Ther. 


Wind. 


.s 


Date. J 


230A.M. 


49 


8.- 


« 


Jun.13 


11-15 " 


83 


N.E. 




kt 


730P.M. 


66 


" 




" 


3 A.M. 


59 


E. 




<> 14 


11-30 do. 


78 


S.E. 




u 


7-30P.M. 


79 






(( 


245A.M. 


60 


S. 




" 15 


12 M. 


93 


" 




t< 


8 P.M. 


78* 


" 




a 


3 A.M. 


09 1 


u 




" 16 


11 " 


85 


" 




(< 


730P.M. 


77 


" 




1 " 



Time. 



5-30A.M. 
23GP.M. 

7-30 do. 
2-30A.M 
230P.M. 
7-30 " 
3-30A.M 
12 M. 
9 P.M. 
3 A.M 
1-30P M 
7-30 " 



Ther. 


Wind. 


63 


S. 


90 


" 


77 


cc 


66 


" 


84 


(( 


72 


u 


66 


" 


86 


u 


67 


SVVbyW 


65 


s.w. 


84 


" 


68 


s. 





JUL) 

U 
(« 
u 
a 
a 


.17 

18 

I 
19 


t-l 






03 






> 


a 


20 


S 


« 




d 


a 




K) 






rO 


it 


21 


C 


u 




S 






Sd 






a 


u 

a 


22 

23 




(< 


24 



430A.M. 
12 M. 

6 P.M. 

430A.M. 
12 M. 

6 P.M. 

6 A.M. 
930P.M. 
2.45A.M. 

11-30 

8.15P.M. 

3 A.M. 
12 M. 

8 P.M. 

2-30A.M 
12 M. 

7 P.M. 
3 A.M. 
1-30P.M. 
7 
3 A.M. 



64 


S. 


K 


Jun.24 


83 


" 




" 


70 


*• 




" 25 


66 


w. 




" 


87 


N. 


E 


(< 


80 


S.E. 


K 


" 26 


70 


N. 


R 


a 


66 


" 




<< 


65 


" 




" 27 


77 


S.E. 




" 


70 


S.S.E. 




" 


66 


" 




" 28 


85 


S.. 




u 


72 


a 














66* 


(( 




" 29 


89 


" 




u 


80 


S.W. 


R 


it 


69 2 L 


N.W. 


R 


" 30 


. 68 


N.E. 


R 


u 


63| 


" 




a 


65 


E.N.E 







1 P.M. 


74i 


E.N.E 


7 « 


64 


" 


3 A.M. 


56 


NNE. 


2 P.M. 


74 


S. 


7 " 


66 


n 


3 A.M. 


56 


E.NE 


11 " 


79 


S.S.E. 


7 P.M. 


72 


s.w. 


3 A.M. 


62 


wsw 


12 M. 


81 


N. 


630P.M. 


74 


« 


3 A.M. 


62 


N.N.E 


11-30 do. 


83 


C( 


1030P.M. 


70 


S.W. 


4 A.M. 


73 


S.E. 


12 M. 


100 


w. 


6 P.M. 


86 


S.E. 


4-30A.M. 


80 


s. 


12 M. 


103 


S.S.E. 


6 P.M. 


r 


w. 



July 1 



4 A.M. 


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488 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



NORTHWESTERN TEXAS. 

Observations by Capt. Marcy, in 1852, on Upper Red River. 
[Continued.) 





Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Wind. 


'Z 


Date. 


Time. 


Ther. 


Wind. 


.2 
PS 




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NORTHWESTERN TEXAS. 



Extreme Te 


MPERATURES 


NOTED BY 


Mr. Parker, 






Brazos, 1854. 


July 16 


. 100° 




August 6 


" 20 . 


100° 




" 11 


" 21 


. 102° 


10 A.M. 


" 12 


" 22 . 


102° 




" 13 


" 23 


. 102° 




" 19 


" 25 . 


110° 




" 20 


" 26 


106* 




« 26 



ON THE HEADS OF THE 



104° 

105° 
106° 
104° 
106° 
105° 
106° 



9 A.M. 



APPENDIX, 489 



CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TEXAS. 

PROVISIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST. 

We the people of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging with gratitude the 
grace and beneficence of God, in permitting us to make a choice of our form of 
Government, do, in accordance with the provisions of the joint Resolution for 
annexing Texas to the United States, approved March first, one thousand eight 
hundred and forty-five, ordain and establish this Constitution : 

Article I.— Bill of Rights. 

That the general, great, and essential principles of liberty and free govern- 
ment may be recognized and established, we declare that — 

Sec. 1. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments 
are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit ; and they have 
at ail times the unalienable right to alter, reform, or abolish their form of gov- 
ernment in such manner as they may think expedient. 

Sec 2. All freemen, when they form a social compact, have equal rights ; 
and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments 
or privileges but in consideration of public services. 

Sec 3. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office 
or public trust in this State. 

Sec 4. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship God accord- 
ing to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to 
attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry 
against his consent ; no human authority ought, in any case whatever, to con- 
trol or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion ; and no 
preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of wor- 
ship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as (may) 
shall be necessary to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable 
enjoyment of their own mode of public worship. 

Sec 5. Every citizen shall be at liberty to speak, write, or publish his opinion 
on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege, and no law 
shall have the right to control the liberty of speech or of the press. 

Sec 6. In prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official 
conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is 
proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence ; and 
in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law 
and the facts under the direction of the courts, as in other cases. 

Sec 7. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and pos- 
sessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches ; and no warrant to search 
any place or to seize any person or thing shall issue without describing them 
as near as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath and affirma- 
tion. 

Sec. 8. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a speedy public 
21* 



490 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

trial by an impartial jury ; he shall not be compelled to give evidence against 
himself, he shall have the right of being heard by himself or counsel, or both, 
shall be confronted with the witnesses against him, and shall have compulsory 
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and no person shall be holden to 
answer for any criminal charge, but on indictment or information, except in 
cases arising in the land or naval forces, or offenses against the laws in regulat- 
ing the militia. 

Sec. 9. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capi- 
tal offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; but this 
provision shall not be construed so as to prohibit bail after indictment found 
upon an examination of the evidence by a Judge of the Supreme or District 
Court upon the return of the (a) writ of habeas corpus, returnable in the county 
where the offense is committed. 

Sec .10. The privileges of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, 
except when, in case of rebellion, or invasion, the public safety may require it. 

Sec. 11. Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive tines imposed, nor 
cruel, nor unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every 
person, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall 
have remedy by due course of law. 

Sec 12. No person, for the same offense, shall be twice put in jeopardy of life 
or limb, nor shall a person be again put upon trial for the same offense, after a 
verdict of not guilty ; and the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. 

Sec 13. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the law- 
ful defense of himself or the State. 

Sec 14. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive laws, or any law 
impairing the obligations of contracts, shall be made, and no person's property 
shall be taken or applied to public use without adequate compensation being 
made, unless by the consent of such person. 

Sec 15. No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt. 

Sec 16. No citizen of the State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or 
privileges, outlawed, exiled, or in any manner disfranchised, except by due 
course of law of the land. 

Sec 17. The military shall, at all times, be subordinate to the civil authority. 

Sec 18. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free 
government, and shall never be allowed ; nor shall the law of primogeniture or 
entailments ever be in force in this State. 

Sec 19. The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assem- 
ble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the 
power of Government, for the redress of grievances, or other purposes, by peti- 
tion, address, or remonstrance. 

Sec 20. No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised, except 
by the Legislature or its authority. 

Sec 21. To guard against transgressions of the higher powers herein desig- 
nated, we declare that everything in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the 
general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all lawa 
contrary thereto or the following provisions shall be void. 



APPENDIX. 491 

Articles II -V. — Division of tke Powers, of Government, etc. 

The departments are three— Executive, Legislative, and Judicial — organized 
as is usual in the other States. To possess the right of suffrage, a person must 
have attained the age of twenty-one years, have resided one year in the State, 
and the last six months in his voting district — " Indians not taxed, Africans, 
and descendants of Africans " are excepted. The sessions of the Legislature 
are triennial. Members of the House of Representatives are elected for two 
years ; must be citizens, and have been two years inhabitants of the State, and 
twenty-one years of age. Members of the Senate are chosen for four years ; 
must be citizens, three years inhabitant, and thirty years of age. The doors of 
each house must be kept open, and neither may adjourn without concurrence 
for more than three days. Members cannot be ministers of the Gospel or 
priests. A census is to be taken every eight years from 1850. 

The Governor holds office for two years, but is ineligible for more than 
four years out of six. His qualifications are those of a Senator. He has the 
power of reprieve and pardon, and of veto ; but vetoed bills, repassed by a two- 
thirds vote, become laws. 

The Judicial department is organized into one Supreme Court, District 
Courts, County Courts, and Justices' Courts. 

Article VI.—- Militia. 

Sec. 2. Any person who has conscientious scruples to bear arms, shall not be 
compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal services. 

Sec. 3. No licensed minister of the Gospel shall be required to perform mili- 
tary duty, work on roads, or serve on juries in this State. 

The control of the militia is given to the Governor. 

Article VII. — General Provisions. 

All officers must take oath that they have not been concerned in any duel. 

Sec 2. Treason against this State shall consist only in levying war against 
it, or in adhering to its enemies — giving them aid and comfort ; and no person 
shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the 
same overt act, or his own confession in open court 

Sec 10. The duration of no office may exceed four years. 

Sec 18. No divorce shall be granted by the Legislature. 

Sec 19. All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed 
by her before marriage, and that acquired afterwards by gift, devise, or de- 
scent, shall be her separate property ; and laws shall be passed more clearly 
defining the rights of the wife in relation as well to her separate property as 
that held in common with her husband. Laws shall also be passed providing 
for the registration of the wife's separate property. 

Sec 22. Exempts homesteads from forced sale. 

Sec 32. Prohibits paper to circulate as money. 

Sec 35. No soldier in time of peace may be quartered upon any person 
without his consent. 



492 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

Mode of Amending the Constitution. 

The Legislature, whenever two-thirds' of each House shall deem it neces 
sary, may propose amendments to this Constitution, which proposed amend 
ments shall be duly published in the public prints of the State at least three 
months before the next general election of the Representatives, for the consi 
deration of the people ; and it shall be the duty of the several returning offi 
cers, at the next election, which shall thus be holden, to open a poll for, and 
make a return to the Secretary of the State of, the names of all those voting for 
Representatives who have voted on such proposed amendments, and if, there- 
upon, it shall appear that a majority of all the citizens of this State, voting for 
Representatives, have voted in favor of such proposed amendments, and two- 
thirds of each House of the next Legislature shall, after such election, and 
before another, ratify the same amendments by yeas and nays, they shall be 
valid to all intents and purposes as part of this Constitution, provided that the 
said proposed amendments shall, at each of the said sessions, have been read 
on three several days in each House. 



Article VIII. — Slaves. 

Sec. 1. The Legislature shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipa 
tion of slaves, without the consent of their owners, nor without paying their 
owners, previous to such emancipation, a full equivalent in money for the 
slaves so emancipated ; they shall have no power to prevent emigrants to the 
State from bringing with them such persons as are deemed slaves by the laws 
of the United States, so long as any person of the same age or description 
shall be continued in slavery by the laws of this State ; provided that such 
slaves be the bona fide property of such emigrants ; provided, also, that 
laws be passed to inhibit the introduction into this State of slaves who have 
committed high crimes in States or Territories ; they shall have the right to pass 
laws to permit the owners of slaves to emancipate them, saving the rights of 
creditors, and preventing them from becoming a public charge ; they shall have 
full power to pass laws which will oblige the owners of slaves to treat them 
with humanity, to provide for their necessary food and clothing, to abstain from 
all injuries to them extending to life or limb, and, in case of their neglect or 
refusal to comply with the directions of such laws, to have such slave or slaves 
taken from such owners and sold for the benefit of such owner or owners ; 
they may pass laws to prevent slaves from being brought into this State as 
merchandise only. 

Sec. 2. In the prosecution of slaves for crimes of a higher grade than petit 
larceny, the Legislature shall have no power to deprive them of an impartial 
trial by a petit jury. 

Sec 3. Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of 
life shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offense 
had been committed upon a free white person, and on the like proof except 
in case of insurrection of such slave. 



APPENDIX. 493 

Article X. — Education. 

Sec. 1. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preserva- 
tion of the rights and liberties of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legis- 
lature of this State to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance 
of Public Schools. 

Sec 2. The Legislature shall, as early as practicable, establish free schools 
throughout the State, and shall furnish means for their support by taxation of 
property ; and it shall be the duty of the Legislature to set apart not less than 
one-tenth part of the annual revenue of the State, derivable from taxation, as 
a perpetual fund ; which fund shall be appropriated to the support of free pub- 
lic schools, and no law shall ever be made diverting said funds to any other 
use, and until such time as the Legislature shall provide for the establishment 
of such schools in the several districts of the State, the fund thus created shall 
remain as a charge against the State, passed to the credit of the free common 
school fund. 

This Constitution is dated at Austin, August 27, 1845, signed by Thomas J. 
Kusk, President. 



494 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS, 



TITLES OP LAND. 

(From a letter of J. De Cordova to E. Smith.) 

Spanish Titles. — Grants. — 1. For services. 2. For ecclesiastical purposes. 
Mexican Titles. 1. From the Central Government. 

a. Grants on certain conditions, erecting mills, etc. 

b. Sales. 

2. From the grants of the States of Coahuila and 
Texas. 

a. Grants on certain conditions. 

b. Sales.* 

c. Head-rights to actual settlers. 
Texan Titles. 1. Grants to settlers. 

a. Who arrived previous to Declaration of In- 

dependence. 

b. Who arrrived after the Declaration of Inde- 

pendence, and before the year 1837. 

c. Who arrived after 1st October, 1837, and be- 

fore 1842. 

2. Bounty claims. 

a. For services in the army. 

b. As pensions to those disabled. 

c. For those who served in the battles of San Ja- 

cinto and Bexar. 

3. Land-scrip. 

a. Issued for the support of the army. 

b. Taken in redemption of the promissory notes 

of the Republic. 

COLONIES. 

The principal colonies are as follows : — Burnet's, Vehlin's, Robertson's or 
Nashville, De Witt's, Austin (four colonies), Powers and Hewitson's, Austin 
and William's, Zavala's, McMullen and McGlone. All these were empresa- 
rios who are entitled to premium lands, provided they strictly complied with 
their contracts. 



BOUNTIES. 

1. Emigrants who arrived (a.) before Declaration of Independence. Married 
men are entitled to one league and one labor ; single men to one-third of a 
league. 

* Among these, a sale of forty ten-league grants to John T. Mason, which, with 
others similar, was declared void by the Republic of Texas. 



APPENDIX. 495 

2. (b.) After Independence, and before 1837. Married men, if enrolled in the 
army, are entitled to one league and one labor ; if single men, to one-third of a 
league, provided such enrollment was previous to August, 1836. 

3. (c.) After 1st October, 1837, and before 1842—640 and 320 acres 

Bounty claims, for services in the army, are for 320, 640, 1,280, and 1,920 
acres. 
For those disabled, one league. 



INDIAN COLONIZATION. 

[From the Report of Commissioner Moneypenny to the Secretary of the Interior, 
December, 1856.J 

The policy of colonizing the Indians of Texas was commenced early in 
February, 1855. The reservations for that purpose are in Young county, Texas, 
one on the Brazos River, and one on the Clear Fork of the Brazos. The 
Caddoes, Anadahhas, Tahuakleros, Waeos, and Tonkahwas, have been con- 
gregated at the former reserve, called the Brazos, and the Comanches at the 
latter, called the Comanche reserve. 

On the 18th of September last, there were nine hundred and forty-eight Indians 
at the Brazos, and five hundred and fifty-seven at the Comanche reservation. 
At the former, during the past year, there have been five hundred and forty 
acres of land fenced in and cultivated, and at the latter two hundred acres. The 
Indians have made considerable progress in building houses and making other 
improvements, and have advanced in their moral and social condition. Whisky 
has, by great vigilance on the part of the agents, and the military and State 
authorities, been kept entirely away ; and, in every point of view, the enter- 
prise, in its present state and future prospects, is more encouraging than its 
most sanguine friends had anticipated. 

The forays and depredations occurring last spring, on the confines of Texas, 
were not, it is said, to be traced to the indigenous tribes of that State, but were 
committed entirely by Indians who had not any connection with the reserves. 
The chastisement of some of these predatory bands, has happily been succeeded 
by a period of unusual quiet and peace. 

The flattering success in Texas gives promise that, by a similar policy, the 
Southern Comanches, Wichetaws, and other wandering bands, near the northern 
frontier of that State, may be successfully colonized on the western end of the 
Choctaw country, for which provision was made by the treaty of June 22, 1855, 
between the United States and the Choctaws and Chickasaws. 



LIST OF WORKS AND AUTHORS. 

Texas : its Geography, Natural History, and Topography. By William Ken- 
nedy, Esq. (British Consul at Galveston). 8vo. pp. 118. New York: Ben- 
jamin & Young, 1844. 

Texas : the Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic. By the same. 

History of Texas. By David B. Edwards. Cincinnati : 1836. 12mo 



496 A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 

History of the Revolution in Texas. By C. Newell. New York : 1838. 12mo. 
A Visit to Texas, with a sketch of the late war. By Fiske. New York: Van 

Nostrand & Dwight, 1836. 
A Journey through Northeastern Texas. By Edward Smith. London : 1849. 

12mo. 
Green's Journal of the Texan Expedition against Mier. New York : 1845. 

8vo. 
Texas. By Mrs. Mary Austin Holley. 12mo. Baltimore : 1833. 
Eagle Pass. By Cora Montgomery. New York : G. P. Putnam, pp. 188. 
Letters from Texas. By W. B. Dewees. Louisville : Morton & Griswold, 1852. 

12mo., pp. 312. 
Notes on Unexplored Texas. By W. B. Parker. Philadelphia: Hayes & 

Zell, 1855. 12mo., pp. 242. 
The Santa Fe Expedition. By G. W. Kendall. New York : Harper & Brothers, 

1844. 2 vols., 12mo. 
Rambles in Texas. 
Personal Narrative. By John R. Bartlett, Commissioner for the Mexican 

Boundary. New York : D. Appleton & Co., 1854. 2 vols., 8vo. 
Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. By Mrs. Houston. Philadelphia. 2 vols., 18mo. 
Our Army on the Rio Grande. By T. B. Thorpe. Philadelphia : 1848. 12mo. 
A Stray Yankee in Texas. By Philip Paxton. 
Wanderings in the Southwest. In the New York " Crayon," 1855-6. By 

J. D. B. StiUman. 
Texas. By L. T. Pease (in Niles's Spanish Republics). Hartford : 1836. 
Sam Houston and his Republic. By C. Edwards Lester. New York : Burgess, 

Stringer & Co. 8vo., pp. 208. 
Life of Gen. Sam Houston. New York : Redfield, 1855. 
Notes from my Knapsack. Putnam's Monthly, March, 1854. 
A trip from Chihuahua to the Sierra Madre. The same, October, 1854. 
History of Louisiana. By Gayarre. 

Ward's Mexico in 1827. Appendix, Texas. London. 2 vols., 8vo. 
History of Texas from its discovery to the present time. By Maillard. 
Mexico in 1842. To which is added an account of Texas and Yucatan, and of 

the Santa Fe Expedition. New York : 1842. 18mo. 
Texas and the Texans. By Henry Stewart Foote. 2 vols., 12mo. Philadel- 
phia : 1841. 
Notes on the Upper Rio Grande. By Bryan Tilden. 
Featherstonaugh, Excursion Through the Slave States. New York: Harper & 

Brothers. 
The Fiscal History of Texas. By W. M. Gouge. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippin- 

cott & Co. 
Memoir of a Trip to Northern Mexico in 1846 and '47. By A. Wislizenus. 

Senate Doc, Washington, 1848. 
Yoakum's History of Texas. 2 vols., 8vo. New York: J. S. Redfield, 1856 



SCRAPS OF NEWSPAPER. 



!3P To our patrons, who looked for 
the prompt appearance of our paper 
this week, with its usual quantity of 
reading matter, we have to plead, as an 
excuse, the absence of our printer, the 
severe affliction of the publisher, and 
the norther. Our office is a very cold 
one, and it was almost impossible to 
work in it on Friday last. 



13P Private parties are getting to be 
quite common in Bastrop, we under- 
stand. Several very creditable candy - 
pullings are said to have come off dur- 
ing the Christmas week, at which we 
had not the good fortune to be present. 
We notice these parties, for they are 
important to a good state of society in 
any place. Bastrop has for two years 
past enjoyed no enviable reputation in 
this respect, and yet Bastrop has more 
material than any town of its size in 
Texas. The substantial and wealthy 
citizens of a place — the merchants — the 
church members, whose interest as well 
as duty it is to improve society, should 
wake up on this matter. Let them give 
such magnificent entertainments as was 
given by Mr. and Mrs. C. K. Hall, on 
the 3rd inst. Liberality is not lost upon 
the young ; and the liberal, social, and 
generous merchant will always succeed 
best, other things being equal. 



(J3F 3 It is true that young people will 
have amusements, and to this end they 
will seek some kind of society. If the 
advantages of good association are de- 
nied them they often turn aside to evil 
practices and bad examples. Christmas 
week last year was one continual scene 
of mischief and drunken uproariousness 



all about town. Plows were perched to 
roost on the tops of houses. Signs 
changed their locations, and effigies of 
good and pious men were posted along 
the streets. This year all was peace- 
able, orderly, and quiet. 

The reason of this difference is obvi- 
ous. This year the thoughts have been 
directed in a civil channel by parties 
and balls. The Citizens' Ball, given 
at the Nicholson House, on the 29th, 
convened an array of beauty and love- 
liness seldom surpassed. The rough 
sex, when enjoying such society, for- 
get the moods which would lead to 
shameful excesses. But speaking of 
the ball — the supper prepared by Mrs. 
Beachboard gave perfect satisfaction, 
the music was excellent, and everything 
went off harmoniously. But alas, how 
time flies when shuffled off by nimble 
feet. The clock struck two, and all 
were obliged to take note of time 
" from its loss." 



The party at Col. C- 



-'s, on the 



28th ultimo, passed off to the delight of 
every one present, we believe. The 
supper-table surpassed all things except 
the beauty and charms of the ladies 
around it. Arrangements had been 
made for dancing, but no fiddler ap- 
peared, as was expected. But the Col. 
informed the boys that dancing had to 
be done, and no mistake. So a chunk 
of a fiddler was raked up from the sub- 
urbs, who went to work, and kept up 
that " same old tune" until a late hour. 



During the past week a Mormon 
missionary has been holding forth in 
Gonzales. At his last meeting there, 



498 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



be "pulled off his coat and rolled up 
Li-; sleeves" — which, alas! caused a 
stampede of the lady part of his audi- 
ence. Soon alter, he was escorted 
around the town to the music of tin 
horns, cow-bells, etc., and told to leave 
ere the dews of night were kissed by 
early dawn, and he did nothin' shorter. 
— iScui Antonio Texan. 



Amicably Adjusted. — We are grati- 
fied to learn from the Jefferson Herald 
of the 5th hist, that the, pending diifi- 
culty between Judge Grinstead, former 
editor of the Herald, and W. H. Par- 
sons, of the Tyler Telegraph, has at last 
been amicably adjusted. The matter 
was submitted to a Board of Honor, by 
whose decision both parties agreed to 
abide. Grinstead selected Hon. VV. B, 
Ochiltree, Parsons selected Col. M. D. 
Ector, and the referees selected Col. J. 
C. Robertson. The board agreed upon 
the following terms of settlement: That 
all remarks and reflections emanating 
from either gentleman, tending in any 
manner to impugn the character for 
courage, honesty, or integrity of the 
other, and every remark of a personal 
character, which has fallen from either 
of the parties with regard to the other, 
be withdrawn. This being agreed to 
by the parties, it was determined by 
the board that no further cause of differ- 
ence existed between them, and that 
they should meet and shake hands as 
friends. And thus ended a difficulty 
which at one time threatened to end in 
mortal combat. We are truly glad that 
this precedent for the settling of diffi- 
culties between editors has been estab- 
lished. We are decidedly opposed to 
the shooting mode of settling such dis- 
putes. It is very apt to derange the 
nervous system and destroy the appe- 
tite. 



The great train for El Paso left San 
Antonio on the 7th inst. The Western 
Texan states that the train is composed 
of one hundred and seventy wagons, 
and two hundred and ten men, besides 
the escort. Capt. Arthur, 1st infantry, 
commands the escort. 



A Serious Affair. — A fight oc- 
curred on last Monday night, at or near 
the Thomas House, between a hostler 



and a gentleman who visited ihe stable. 
The hostler, who was considerably in- 
jured, but who, we are glad to learn, is 
recovering, hailed the gentleman, and, 
receiving no answer, made an attack 
on him, wounding him with a knife. 
The assailed returned to the hotel, fol- 
lowed by the assailant, where he seized 
a stick and knocked his adversary 
down, breaking his ribs, and otherwise 
injuring him. 



Sudden Death. — A negro woman, 
the property of Mrs. Lydia J. Cushney, 
fell dead on Wednesday morning last, 
it is supposed from a* disease of the 
heart. 



Western Texas. 

Mr. Editor: — Perhaps you have 
come to the conclusion that 1 have for- 
gotten both you and the Advocate, 
from my protracted silence; but, lean 
assure you, that both have been and 
still are the objects of my most tender 
solicitude. Afflictions and bad wea- 
ther caused me to be late getting to 
my work, and have no regular plan of 
my circuit. The work being very 
large, and a great portion of the work 
quite new, it required much time to 
form such an acquaintance with the 
country as would enable one to write 
understandingly. My circuit now em- 
braces a portion of five counties, viz. : 
Victoria, De Witt, Gonzales, Karnes, 
and Goliad, and three towns, Clinton, 
and Yorktown, in De Witt, the former 
being the county-seat, and Helena in 
Karnes, is the county-seat. I have 
twenty-three appointments, at some 
of which I preach two and sometimes 
three times per month, and if I meet 
my engagements, I must preach thirty 
sermons this (April) month. I have 
been much afflicted by bad colds, and 
on one occasion received an injury in 
the right side by my horse, 3^et my 
strength remains as firm as usual. I 
have a most beautiful country through 
which to travel, people remarkably 
kind, and generally anxious to hear 
preaching. I find in this country 
many who were once members of some 
branch of the Christian church, who 
emigrated without church letters, and 
failed to make themselves known as 
professing Christians, until an accumu- 



APPENDIX. 



499 



Iation of circumstances drove them 
into a condition which made them 
ashamed to acknowledge they had 
ever been church members. This, Mr. 
Editor, is a great evil under the sun — 
and 1 know of no better agent through 
which to correct that evil than the 
printing press. Let all Christian edit- 
ors sound the alarm, and warn all who 
wish to emigrate. 



Artesian Well. — Captain P. W. 
Humphreys has a subscription list 
containing a number of names of those 
wishing to take shares in a joint-stock 
company, for sinking an artesian well 
in Austin. Those favorable to the pro- 
ject should take shares. 



l^T " We never played at Poker, 
nor permitted our negroes to do so. — 
State Gazette. 

But, Major ! will you have the face 
to deny that you are not perfectly fa- 
miliar with all the mysteries of the 
games of Bluff and Brag ? 



E. D. Carr & Co.— The advertise- 
ment of these gentlemen will be found 
in to-day's paper. They have on hand 
a lot of children's clothing. Notwith- 
standing Mr. Carr may not have found 
any need for using these aforesaid gar- 
ments for small folk, yet we can vouch 
he shows them to fond mammas with as 
much gusto and sells them as cheap as 
" ary a man" in Austin. 



Tlie Election in Bexar. 

The partial returns received from 
San Antonio, by Wednesday evening's 
mail, presents to the mind of the true 
American, and to every lover of his 
country, reflections of fearful import- 
ance. We care not to what party a 
man may be attached, he cannot be a 
true patriot who fails to discover in the 
result of the contest in Bexar and Co- 
mal consequences of direful import. 
He who argues that the unanimity 
with which the German and Mexican 
vote was cast against the American 
candidates is an evidence of the purity 
of the principles of the anti- American 
party, must also be prepared to reason 
that the thousands and tens of thou- 



sands of European paupers who swarm 
the land, are more capable of self-gov- 
ernment, more deeply imbued with the 
spirit of republicanism, more compe- 
tent to perform the duties which the 
Constitution and laws of the land 
require at the hands of every citizen, 
than those to the manner born; either 
these ignorant, vicious, besotted greas- 
ers, who have swelled to such an un- 
precedented extent the majority of the 
anti-American party in Bexar county, 
are wrong, or the seventy thousand 
intellectual, educated, and refined Vir- 
ginians, who supported the American 
ticket at the late election in that State, 
are in error. Both cannot be right. 

The worst passions and the silliest 
fears of the deluded horde of Mexican 
peons, who populate to such a danger- 
ous extent the county of Bexar, have 
been appealed to by a squad of black- 
robed villains, who exercise over the 
minds of their miserable followers a 
despotism more absolute than that of 
any Turkish nobleman over those who 
people his seraglio. 

Into the hands of these priests, fel- 
low-citizens, the ballot-box has been 
placed in San Antonio. Serpent-like 
have they entered into the jacals of 
their countrymen, and there hissed 
into the ears of the inmates the man- 
dates from which a Mexican ha^ no 
appearand the consequence has been, 
that on election day a horde of political 
lepers have crawled to the ballot-box, 
and there nullified the votes of thou- 
sands of your countrymen, who had 
weighed well the principles in contro- 
versy. Great God ! shall these things 
always exist 1 Shall a race of men, 
many of whom, in knowledge of Ame- 
rican institutions, are inferior to the 
African — men who have proved them- 
selves incapable of self-government 
under the' most favorable auspices — 
must these men be permitted to wrest 
from the intelligent American the most 
sacred and dearest rights which he pos- 
sesses, at the bidding of a rotten 
priesthood, and the scarcely less cor- 
rupt demagogues who can be always 
found ready to betray their country, 
and surrender their birthright for less 
than a mess of pottage. 

We do not, so help us God, envy our 
enemies the unholy alliance by which 
they have acquired victory in Bexar. 
We record the result more in sorrow 



500 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



than in anger. We feel humiliated 
when we reflect upon the materiel by 
which the votes of so many true Ame- 
ricans have been rendered nugatory. 



[For the State Times.} 

Downfall of the Hocus-Pocus De- 
mocracy of Travis County. 

Behold ! the great Bombshells, in might 

have come down 
To organize things in our glorious 

town, — 
And to let us know that, in matters of 

State 
'Twill take their wise-heads, to set 

everything straight ; 
For how should we American men 
See aught without light of their wits 

and their pen ? 

With this blustering hostcometh, lead- 
ing the van, 

Great Jack, the Big Gun of the For- 
eigner's clan; 

Who, with all his stump thunder, the 
echoes awoke, 

Though alack ! he but snapped, with a 
flash and a smoke ! 

For though, far and near, they have 
scoured the plain, 

Not a single Know-Nothing is found 
to be slain. 



But hark ! what was that ? — on a sud- 
den rings out, 

From Travis' green hills, a victorious 
shout ! 

The " Americans" come ! — in their 
principles strong, 

They have fought a good fight — they 
have battled with wrong — 

They have won! — and the Bombshell 
with meteor light 

Has burst ! and gone down, in the 
darkness of night ! 

Then on ! ye brave sons of America's 

soil ! 
With your forefathers, shrink not, for 

freedom to toil ! 
Let Washington's counsel forever be 

dear, 
Keep the reins in your hands, and the 

ballot-box clear ! 



Protect the adopted ; but teach them 

to know. 
We yield not our birth-right, to friend 

or to foe ! 

Little Windy. 



Indians. — May-be-so. — We have 
been informed that on Monday night 
last, a party of Indians (so supposed) 
visited the farm-houses of several of our 
citizens living on the San Antonio riv- 
er, some ten or fifteen miles above this 
place, and drove off from eighty to one 
hundred head of horses. Thomas Lott, 
Esq., Capt. Barton Peck, and Colonel 
John A. Hodges were the sufferers. 

This report may be true, but we don't 
believe the Indian story. We feel satis- 
fied that this stampede was made by the 
whites — or, as Jim Burk, an old ranger, 
would say, if they Were not white then, 
they could be made so by taking them 
to a water-hole, and use a little soap on 
them. 

Several persons started immediately 
in pursuit of these rascals, and we hope 
will soon overtake them. — Goliad 
True American, July 21, 1855. 



Excitement in Navarro County, 
Texas. — A Man Hung and Barba- 
rously Mutilated. — In the Leon Pio- 
neer of the 8th November, 1850, we 
find a long and shocking account of the 
progress of the excitement in Navarro 
county, growing out of the supposed 
theft of a couple of mulatto boys, be- 
longing to Col. Elliot, of that county. 
Two men in Col. Elliot's employment 
were suspected, on the statement of a 
negro. One, named Elliot, was arrest- 
ed, and a confession of guilt, impli- 
cating himself and a man named Wells, 
forced from him by tying a rope around 
his neck and threatening to hang him. 
The man afterward said the statement 
was untrue, and made to save his life. 
In his statement, the plan, he said, in- 
cluded the murder of Elliot. After get- 
ting this confession, search was imme- 
diately made by various parties for 
Wells, but without, it is said, succeed- 
ing in arresting him. On Friday, the 
27th ult., his body was found in Cham- 
ber's creek, by some persons who were 
engaged in building a bridge, and who 
were hunting oxen at the time, and 
were attracted to the spot by a gang of 



APPENDIX. 



501 



buzzards. When found, he was float- 
ing near the surface of the water, be- 
tween a forked limb, which had, to all 
appearance, been placed over him for 
the purpose of holding the body to the 
bottom. Around his neck was the 
print of a rope. His abdomen had 
been ripped open, and his bowels torn 
out, thus leaving but little doubt that 
he was hanged, and afterward his body 
thrown into the creek for concealment. 
The body, from appearances, had been 
in the creek but a short time, probably 
fourteen or twenty hours. The parties, 
or some of them, engaged in the search 
for Wells, are suspected of the murder, 
and their lives are threatened. One 
or two of them have gone to Corsicana 
and demanded a trial, alleging their 
innocence. Among the nine persons 
accused of this foul deed are some of 
the most respectable and prominent 
men in the county of Navarro ; and, as 
our informant stated that they all stood 
their trial before an examining court, 
and were honorably acquitted, we shall 
omit their names — considering that, if 
innocent, it will be doing them injus- 
tice, and if guilty, it will not forward 
the ends of justice. The barbarous and 
shocking mutilation described in the 
report of the jury, savors more of the 
fiend than of man; and, unless upon 
proof the most clear and convincing, 
we cannot believe that men of the high 
standing and honorable feeling that we 
know some of the accused to be, could 
have consented to such fiendish work, 
much less, aided and abetted it. 



A Negro Killed. — We understand 
that a negro, the property of Mr. Geo. 
Smith, of this county, was killed by 
Capt. Callaghan, at his place on the 
Blanco, a few days ago. We learn that 
Capt. Callaghan had been molested 
several times, for two or three nights, 
by persons attempting to break into his 
house. The noise he made in arising 
scared them away, and each time he 
found the negro man in question near 
a woodpile. This probably excited his 
suspicion. In the mean time he learned 
that the negro was armed. He there- 
fore ordered him to give up his arms — 
a six-shooter, and an unearthly, long, 
sharp steel blade. The negro refused 
to do so. The Captain then drew his 
six-shooter, and told him he must give 



up his arms or be shot. The boy drew 
his pistol, and told him to shoot, and 
seemed careless of his life. The Cap- 
tain then sent his little son to the house 
for his shot ffun, and as the little fellow 
approached with the gun, the negro 
broke and ran towards a horse which 
he had staked out, with a view to 
mounting him and escaping. The Cap- 
tain discharged his fowling-piece at him 
without serious effect, and, the boy still 
running, he plumped him in the back 
with his six-shooter, and that was the 
last of " Poor Old Edward." The Cap- 
tain's experience with the " Injins" 
doubtless assisted him in this affair. — 
Seguin Mercury. 



A letter to a commercial house in 
Galveston, from a highly respectable 
citizen of Crockett, dated May 5th, 
says : An impromptu fight in the woods, 
near Alabama, between two families, 
resulted in all three on one side being 
shot — two dead. The others (peace- 
able men hitherto) are unhurt. The 
name of the three brothers shot is 
Pool; that of the other party, a father 
and sons, is Click. — N. O. Pic. 



ty The value of negroes in this re- 
gion of country may be judged of to 
some extent, by the rates at which a 
lot hired in this city on the 26th ultimo. 
A lot of nine negro men, one a rough 
carpenter, hired at the average of 
$280-92 each per year, the hire to be 
paid at the expiration of every four 
months, reaching an aggregate of 
$2,528*28 per annum for the nine ne- 
groes. — Texas State Gazette, Jan. 3 
1853. 



A Free State out of Texas. 

From various sources we have come 
in possession of facts, which go to show 
that the Germans, French, Swiss, Hun- 
garians, and other foreigners, will, ere 
long, make a strong demonstration to 
form a free State out of Western Texas. 
We have lately conversed with men 
from that part of the State, and they 
unhesitatingly aver that the foreigners 
there to a man are opposed to slavery. 

There are also men from the North 
who are insidious leaders in the move- 
ment, and are urging the foreigners to 



502 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



take a bold stand in favor of the pro- 
ject. They are busy in the work of 
drilling them for the contest, and 
already boast of having ten thousand 
voters. 

The struggle for a division will soon 
commence and, although natives of the 
State would like to see a division, yet 
they fear to test the question. But 
whether they move or not, the foreign- 
ers will move for them, and bring on the 
issue. The longer the natives of the 
State delay action on this subject, the 
worse it will be for them, for their 
opponents are gathering numerical 
strength, and will doubtless overwhelm 
them sooner or later, unless our present 
patent process of naturalization is 
speedily arrested. 

These patent mills are grinding out 
voters with astonishing rapidity, and 
the hopper is kept full of fresh grists 
from the old world. 

Gentlemen who have lately visited 
that portion of the State, confirm the 
above statements. 

There is food for reflection to South- 
ern men in this matter, and the sooner 
the issue is promptly met, the better it 
will be for all parties. 

What will our Texas exchanges say 
to this state of things ? — New Orleans 
Creole. 



A Free State in Texas ! 

Some may look upon such a thing as 
a free State of Western Texas, as im- 
probable, particularly at a time when 
such strenuous efforts are being made 
to carry slavery into Kansas, where 
slavery does not now exist by positive 
law. Yet there is a strong probability 
that such an event will occur within 
the next ten years. Our opinion is 
based upon the fact that foreign immi- 
gration is greater than domestic by 
at least ten to one ; and upon the 
well-known fact that foreign immi- 
gration is opposed to slavery, from 
principle, prejudice, and education. 
And there are many of the immigrants 
from the older States opposed to sla- 
very, who quietly tolerate it so long as 
it is an institution of the State, but who 
will vote no slavery when the question 
comes up whether Western Texas shall 
be a tree or slave State. This fact is 
not generally known ; if so, it is not 
duly considered. The vote of the 



adopted citizens of Texas now numbers 
at least twelve thousand. In less than 
ten years it will be increased to three 
times that number, unless the natural- 
ization laws are changed. This in- 
crease will be in a much greater ratio 
than that of the native-born vote.— San 
Antonio Texan. 



Matagorda. — The people of Mata- 
gorda county have held a meeting and 
ordered every Mexican to leave the 
county. To strangers this may seem 
wrong, but we hold it to be perfectly 
right and highly necessary ; but a word 
of explanation should be given. In the 
first place, then, there are none but the 
lower class or " Peon" Mexicans in the 
county ; secondly, they have no fixed 
domicile, but hang around the planta- 
tions, taking the likeliest negro girls 
for wives ; and, thirdly, they often steal 
horses, and these girls, too, and endeav- 
or to run them to Mexico. We should 
rather have anticipated an appeal to 
Lynch law, than the mild course which 
has been adopted. 



A Voter. — As an evidence of the ca- 
pacity of the Mexican population to 
discriminate in matters of State im- 
portance, it may be mentioned that at 
one of the polls held in this city, a 
greaser, who was challenged, was 
asked incidentally by a bystander 
" who he voted for, for Governor V 

" Sublett," was the reply. 

" Who for Lieutenant-Governor?" 

" Sublett," rejoined the Mexican. 

" Who for Representative 1" 

" Sublett," again muttered this 
bombshell freeman. 

Voters like that swelled the Anti- 
American majority in Bexar. Boast 
of your triumphs, gentlemen Bomb- 
shells. 



A Free Fight in Texas. — The 
Palestine American gives the following 
extract from a letter, written at Buena 
Vista, Shelby County, Texas: 

" Yesterday, in Buena Vista, William 
Therman , M. Wheeler, John Yarbor- 
ough, and Bob McCoy, went to the 
house of Sam. H. Cooper, for the pur 
pose of raising a row with Stephen S. 
Runnels, who was at the time in Coop- 
er's house ; but Cooper was across the 



APPENDIX. 



503 



street, opposite the house, in the gro- 
cery. Runnels got up and walked out 
in the piazza, when Therman drew a 
five-shooter and fired at him. Runnels 
then returned the fire, without effect 
upon either party. John Yarborough 
next shot Runnels from behind (which 
shot killed him : he only lived three 
hours). Runnels then shot Yarborough 
in the thigh, and the next fire he shot 
Wheeler, breaking his arm ; during 
which time Therman was beating Run- 
nels over the head with a pistol. Run- 
nels then drew another pistol, when 
Therman retreated, but not in time to 
save himself, for Runnels shot him just 
above the hip. I heard, to-day, that 
Therman was dead, and I reckon it is 
so. During the fight, Cooper ran over 
and exchanged several shots on the 
side of Runnels, and wounded some of 
the party. Mrs. Cooper was in the 
fight, also, charging around, and would, 
doubtless, have done execution, had 
not the parties retreated. Stephen Run- 
nels fought like a soldier, to the last — he 
never fell at all, but made all of the 
opposite party retreat, after he was 
mortally wounded. I saw him die ; he 
bid me an affectionate farewell, and 
was not heard to sigh or groan, be- 
cause he was too manly. The Wheelers 
and their company are now in search 
of Sam Cooper, and they swear venge- 
ance against him. They are here to- 
day, drinking and swearing around." 

We have neither time nor room for 
comment on the above. 



To The Public. 

As some contemptible puppy or pup- 
pies have taken it upon themselves to 
intimate that my absence in the battle 
of " Escondido"* was attributable to 
motives of fear, I am forced, in justice 
to myself, to say to all such, they are 
liars, slanderers, cowards, and sons of 
liars, and they would not dare to make 
the charge in my presence. I further- 
more state, that at the time myself, 
with Varneil and Gholson, turned back, 
it was the general impression that we 
were going to have uo fight, as we 
were told the Indians had left their 
camp, and gone to the mountains. 
Under these circumstances, some of us 
concluded ii would be useless to beat 
about for weeks through Mexieo to no 

* Calahan's Expedition, 1855. 



purpose ; I, for one, knew my business 
at home would suffer very materially ; 
therefore, I turned back. I, perhaps, 
have honored the cowardly insinuator 
too much by even this short notice of 
his charge, and should have passed it 
by with contemptuous silence, were it 
not that there are those upon whose 
friendship I place too high an estimate 
not to disabuse their minds. I further- 
more state, that if any of those busy- 
bodies desire to test my courage at any 
time, I will give them the amplest op- 
portunity. Respectfully, 

X. B. Sanders 



Contemplated Servile Rising in 

Texas. 

The Galveston News publishes the 
following letter in relation to the late 
contemplated negro insurrection in 
Colorado county : 
Columbus, Colorado Co., Sept. 9, 1856 

The object of this communication is 
to state to you all the facts of any im- 
portance connected with a recent in- 
tended insurrection. 

Our suspicions were aroused about 
two weeks ago, when a meeting of the 
citizens of the county was called, and 
a committee of investigation appointed 
to ferret out the whole matter, and lay 
the facts before the people of the coun- 
ty for their consideration. The com- 
mittee entered upon their duties, and, 
in a short time, they were in full pos- 
session of the facts of a well-organized 
and systematized plan for the murder 
of our entire white population, with the 
exception of the young ladies, who were 
to be taken captives, and made the 
wives of the diabolical murderers of 
their parents and friends. The com- 
mittee found in their possession a num- 
ber of pistols, bowie-knives, guns, and 
ammunition. Their passwords of or- 
ganization were adopted, and their mot- 
to, " Leave not a shadow behind." 

Last Saturday, the 6th inst., was the 
time agreed upon for the execution of 
their damning designs. At a late hour 
at night, all were to make one simul- 
taneous, desperate effort, with from two 
to ten apportioned to nearly every 
house in the county, kill all the whites, 
save the above exception, plunder their 
homes, take their horses and arms, and 
fight their way on to a " free State" 
(Mexico). 



504 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



Notwithstanding the intense excite- 
ment which moved every member of 
our community, and the desperate 
measures to which men are liable to be 
led on by such impending danger to 
which we have been exposed by our 
indulgence and lenity to our slaves, we 
must say the people acted with more 
caution and deliberation than ever be- 
fore characterized the action of any 
people under similar circumstances. 

More than two hundred negroes had 
violated the law, the penalty of which 
is death. But, by unanimous consent, 
the law was withheld, and their lives 
spared, with the exception of three of 
the ringleaders, who were, on last Fri- 
day, the 5th inst., at 2 o'clock p. m., 
hung, in compliance with the unani- 
mous voice of the citizens of the coun- 
ty- 

Without exception, every Mexican in 
the county was implicated. They were 
arrested, and ordered to leave the coun- 
ty within five days," and never again to 
return, under the penalty of death. 
There is one, however, by the name of 
Frank, who is proven to be one of the 
prime movers of the affair, that was 
not arrested ; but we hope that he may 
yet be, and have meted out to him such 
reward as his black deed demands. 

We are satisfied that the lower class 
of the Mexican population are incen- 
diaries in any country where slaves are 
held, and should be dealt with accord- 
ingly. And, for the benefit of the Mexi- 
can population, we would here state, 
that a resolution was passed by the 
unanimous voice of the county, forever 
forbidding any Mexican from coming 
within the limits of the county. 

Peace, quiet, and good order are 
again restored, and, by the watchful 
care of our Vigilance Committee, a well- 
organized patrol, and good discipline 
among our planters, we are persuaded 
that there will never again occur the 
necessity of a communication of the 
character of this. 

Yours respectfully, 
John H. Robson, ) 
H. A.Tatum, >Cor. Com. 
'J. H. Hicks. > 

The Galveston News, of the 11th 
inst., has also the following paragraph : 

" We learn, from the Columbian 
Planter, of the 9th, that two of the 
negroes engaged in the insurrection at 
Columbus were whipped to death; 



three more were hung last Friday, and 
the Mexicans who were implicated 
were ordered to leave the country. 
There was no proof against these last 
beyond surmises. The band had a 
deposit of arms and ammunition in the 
bottom. They had quite a number of 
guns, and a large lot of knives, manu- 
factured by one of their number. It 
was their intention to fight their way 
to Mexico." 

[From the True Issue, Sept. 5.] 
We noticed last week the rumor that 
a large number of slaves, of Colorado 
county, had combined and armed them- 
selves for the purpose of fighting their 
way into Mexico. Developments have 
since been made of a much more seri- 
ous nature than our information then 
indicated. It is ascertained that a 
secret combination had been formed, 
embracing most of the negroes of the 
county, for the purpose of not fleeing 
to Mexico, but of murdering the in- 
habitants — men, women, and children 
promiscuously. To carry out their 
hellish purposes, they had organized 
into companies of various sizes, had 
adopted secret signs and passwords, 
sworn never to divulge the plot under 
the penalty of death, and had elected 
captains and subordinate officers to 
command the respective companies. 
They had provided themselves with 
some fire-arms and home-made bowie- 
knives, and had appointed the time for 
a simultaneous movement. Some two 
hundred, we learn, have been severely 
punished under the lash, and several 
are now in jail awaiting the more seri 
ous punishment of death, which is to 
be inflicted to-day. One of the prin 
cipal instigators of the movement is a 
free negro, or one who had been per- 
mitted to control his own time as a free 
man. 



Galveston, Texas, July 10, 1856. 
To the Editor of the N. Y. Daily Times: 

The inclosed I cut from one of our 
city papers, and beg you to publish 
with such comments as you deem 
necessary. 

In explanation, I must tell you that 
Mr. Sherwood, a Southern man and 
eminent lawyer, and, at the last session 
of our Legislature, a member of the 
House from this city, had to resign be- 



APPENDIX. 



50-5 



fore his term expired, because he had 
the courage to assert, on the floor of the 
House, that it was his opinion that 
" the Congress of the United States had 
the Constitutional right to legislate on 
the subject of Slavery in the Terri- 
tories.'' This is the only so-called Anti- 
Slavery sentiment Mr. Sherwood, him- 
self a slaveholder, entertains. I under- 
lined some portions of the article I 
inclose, and ask you, where lies the 
difference, in regard to Freedom of 
Speech and Press, between so-called 
despotic Austria, and these Southern 
Republican States of the great and 
free (?) North American Republic ? 
Yours, A Southerner. 



Proceedings of a Public Meeting 
in Galveston, Texas. 

[From the Galveston News.] 
At a meeting of the citizens of Gal- 
veston, convened to take into consid- 
eration the propriety of permitting 
Lorenzo Sherwood to address the peo- 
ple in defense of his course in the last 
Legislature, Col. Samuel L. Williams 
was called to the chair, and Alfred F. 
James appointed Secretary, when, after 
explaining the object of the meeting, it 
was 

Resolved, That the following letter, 
prepared and read by Mr. Ballinger, be 
addressed to Mr. Sherwood, as embrac- 
ing the views and sentiments of this 
meeting, in relation to his contem- 
plated address : 

Galveston, Monday, July 7, 1856. 

Lorenzo Sherwood, Esq.— Sir: 
At a public meeting of the citizens of 
Galveston, convened this morning at 
the Court House, in consequence of 
your public notice that you would 
make an address this evening, in de- 
fense of your course in the last Legis- 
lature, it was unanimously resolved to 
notify you of the well-considered senti- 
ments and resolute determination of the 
people of Galveston, as follows : 

That your right, in common with 
every other citizen, to free opinion, free 
discussion, and the largest liberty of 
self-defense, is fully recognized, and 
will be respected. (?) 

But there is one subject, connected 
with your course in the Legislature — 
that of Slavery — on which neither you, 
nor any one entertaining your views, 

22 



will be permitted to appear before the 
community , in a public manner. That 
your views on that subject are unsound 
and dangerous, is the fixed belief of 
this community, caused by your otcn 
speeches, writing, and acts. 

We are aware that, either actually 
or seemingly, you wholly misappre- 
hended the real views of the people of 
Texas, and suppose that, by explana- 
tion and argument, yon can make your 
Anti- Slavery theories and plans inof- 
fensive and acceptable. How far this 
should be attributed, on your part, to 
delusion, and how far to design, is not 
material. The Slavery subject is not 
one which is open to you before us. 

You are, therefore, explicitly and 
peremptorily notified, that, in your 
speech, you unit not be permitted to 
touch, in any manner, on the subject of 
Slavery, or your opinions thereon, 
either directly or indirectly , or by may 
of explanation, or other loise. Under 
the pretext of the personal right of self - 
defense, you will not be tolerated in any 
attempt to defend your course in the 
Legislature on this subject, which was 
an aggression on the rights, and an 
outrage on the feelings, of the State of 
Texas, and much more on those of the 
people of Galveston, whom you mis- 
represented, than any other. 

The entire subject of Slavery, in all 
its connections, is forbidden ground, 
which you shall not invade. 

Your introduction of it in any man- 
ner, tvill be the prompt signal for con- 
sequences to which we need not 

ALLUDE. 

It has been asserted that you have 
some supporters in this community 
upon that subject. We trust not. But 
if so, and if they have sufficient pre- 
sumption to undertake to sustain you, 
in any further discussion of this sub- 
ject before the people, they will make 
this evening the occasion for the definite 
and final settlement of that issue, both 
as to you and to them. 

We trust, however, that you will 
confine yourself to matters of legitimate 
public interest and discussion, and will 
not, hereafter, either in public or pri- 
vate, further abuse the patience of a 
people with whom, on that question, 
you have no congeniality, and whom 
you wholly misunderstand 

This communication will be read to 
the assembled public before you proceed. 



506 



A JOURNEY THROUGH TEXAS. 



with your speech; and you will clearly 
understand, is not to be the subject of 
any animadversion by you. 

The meeting was addressed by 
Messrs. Wm. P. Ballinger, P. R. Ed- 
wards, Hamilton Stuart, Thomas M. 
Joseph, B. C. Franklin, Samuel M. Wil- 
liams, F. H. Merriman, Oscar Farish, 
M. B. Menard, Noah John, and Joseph 
J. Hendley. 

Col. Samuel M. Williams, Judge B. 
C. Franklin, Wm. P. Ballinger, Esq., 
and Col. E. McLean, were appointed a 
committee to deliver to Mr. Sherwood a 
copy of the letter addressed to him by 
this meeting. 

On motion of Hamilton Stuart, Esq., 
all those opposed to the action taken by 
this meeting were requested, to with- 
draw, whereupon Messrs. Joseph J. 
Hendley and Stephen Van Sickle re- 
tired. 

The meeting then adjourned, to meet 
again this evening at the place ap- 
pointed by Mr. Sherwood to deliver his 
address. 

Samuel M. Williams, 

Chairman. 

A. F. James, Secretary. 



[From the San Antonio Herald, Oct- 

16, 1855.] 
Return of Capt. Callahan's Expedi- 
tion. — Pied r as Negrcs Burnt. — The 
Citizens taking up arms. 
Captain Callahan returned to our 
city on Saturday last. From him we 
learn, that, after he had fallen back 
upon the town of Piedras Negras, the 
Mexicans stated to him the battle of 
Escondido was brought on through mis- 
take — that the object of his expedition 
was not rightly understood. He was 
given to understand, that if he wished 
to pursue and chastise the Indians, he 
could do so unmolested. This was 
merely to decoy him out of Piedras 
Negras, so that the Mexicans could 
carry out their previous design of mas- 
sacreing his command. 

Considerable fuss was made at Eagle 
Pass about the burning of Piedras Ne- 
gras, and fears were eatertained that 
the Mexicans and Indians would retali- 
ate upon that place. The Mexicans 
have themselves alone i;o blame for the 
burning of their town. Had they not 
acted in bad faith towards Capt. Cal- 



lahan, by lavish displays of friendship 
assisting him to cross the Rio Grande, 
and proffering to join his ranks, and 
then joining the force that lay in am- 
bush to fall upon his front and rear and 
massacre his whole command, their 
town would not have been destroyed, 
nor their property taken without ren- 
dering a tair equivalent. They even 
carried off his dead, it is said, for dis- 
section, in San Fernando. 
******* 

Already have a number of our citi- 
zens taken the field, prepared and de- 
termined to carry the war into the ene- 
my's country, if necessary. Captains 
Callahan, Henry, and Benton, and the 
brave men of their commands, have set 
an example worthy the emulation of all 
who desire the peace and security of 
the frontier. One hundred and eleven 
men, most of whom were never in bat- 
tle before, whipped a force of Indians 
and Mexicans more than six times 
greater than their own, upon their own 
soil. To arms, then, Texans, and 
avenge your plundered, outraged, and 
murdered countrymen ! Drive back to 
their vile dens the thieving, murdering 
hordes that have been laying your 
country waste, and carrying your 
wives and daughters into captivity. 
Then to arms, Texans ! Now is the 
time for action ! 



To ttie People of Texas. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Bexar 
county, the undersigned were appoint- 
ed a committee to appeal to you, to 
take this matter into your own hands, 
as the Federal and State governments 
have been appealed to in vain. Your 
fellow-citizens have been cruelly and 
shamefully murdered almost within 
view of the capitol of your State, and 
the head-quarters of the army of the 
United Slates. Your women have 
been violated, and your children car- 
ried into captivity. Frontier settle- 
ments have been broken up, and their 
property carried into Mexico. Mexico 
has violated the letter and spirit of our 
treaties with her, by aiding and abet- 
ting the Indians in their robberies, 
harboring them within her borders, and 
lighting their battles when pursued to 
their camps. Texans, to the rescue 
and let no repose be taken until vic- 
tory, complete and triumphant, shall be 



APPENDIX. 



507 



ours. On the Cibolo, near the mouth 
of the Santa Clara, will be the point of 
rendezvous, and the fifteenth day of 
November is designated as the day 
when the expedition will move. 
Respectfully, 

Wm. E. Jones, 
J. H. Callahan, 
J. A. Wilcox, 
Jno. Sutherland, 
Asa Mitchell, 
S. A. Maverick. 
4 San Antonio, Oct. 16, 1855. 



[From the S. A. Sentinel] 
iy On the first page of this num- 
ber we publish the circular of Captain 
Callahan, who is now with a few men 
at Piedras Negras, waiting for assist- 
ance. Capt. Callahan's position is 
somewhat a peculiar one, and one out 
of which more serious difficulties may 
arise. It might at first be supposed 
that our men had violated the neutrali- 
ty laws in following the Indians into 
Mexico. But at the present time there 
is no government really in Mexico. She 
has just emerged from a revolution form 
of government, nor does she even re- 
cognize your particular man as being 
really at the head of her governmental 
affairs. 



[From the San Antonio Zeitang.\ 

11 To the Military Commander of the 
9tk Military Department : 

"Your memorialists would respect- 
fully represent, that on Sunday, the 
10th day of Deeember,1854, Lieut. Jack- 
son was in command of mounted vol- 
unteers, in the vicinity of Dhanis ; that 
during the night the property of the 
citizens was destroyed; two hogs, the 
property of John Ney, were killed ; 
sign-boards, windows, shutters, and 
other things was destroyed, and thus 
destroyed the letter-box and the sign of 
the post-office, scattering the contents 
of the letter-box upon the prairie, be- 
sides firing their pistols at random in 
the streets, to the great annoyance and 
danger of the inhabitants. 

"Lieutenant Jackson and some few 
men who encamped with them, be- 
haved like gentlemen ; but, although 
they possessed the authority, they had 
not the power to control the conduct of 



these lawless men. We would like to 
have the protection of a company of 
Rangers, but not such as these are — 
worse than the red Indian himself. 
They have stolen 52 valuable horses 
within a few months, within a circle 
of 20 miles in diameter, have killed our 
cows and oxen, and occasionally taken 
the lives of our citizens ; but even these 
we can better endure than the lawless- 
ness of these men, who should be our 
protectors. 

" We would also respectfully request 
that the citizens may be remunerated 
for the losses sustained, and that mea- 
sures may be taken for our protection 
in future from such outrages. 

" We respectfully append an account 
of damages. 

"Dhanis, Dec. 11,1854." 



BOY OUT. 

About the 1st instant, my negro 
boy, Charles, absconded, and has not 
since been heard of. Said